Last year I was asked to write about myself and my photography for Desillusion magazine and it featured in issue 41. It took me weeks, it’s so so hard to write about yourself.
I was born in Devon, south west England in 1984. spending my first few years living on a farm there before moving to Arizona in the USA. We didn’t last long before moving back to the south coast of England. I was too young to remember these times, but I do have a photo of myself with my sister, in a nappy and an american indian head dress, so I guess it went down a little something like that.
Things could have been very different.
The village i grew up in, on the south coast of england was mostly full of retirement homes and very very old people. Somewhere down the line on a holiday to Devon, my mum forced me into the sea with a bodyboard and made me try surfing, I remember not being very keen at the time, but didn’t think about much else afterwards. The rest of my youth was a blur of surfing very tiny waves, riding bikes, skateboarding in the rain and not achieving full potential at school. At the time I was hanging around at the local surf shop so much, they ended up giving me a job and I got to know some of the older crew whom had travelled a lot. That was it, all I wanted to do was save some money and buy a ticket. School didn’t fare so well after that.
Since then, travel has been a huge part of my life. Surfing led me to travel and it was travel that led me to take photos. Now taking photos allows me to travel and travel allows me to surf more, or something like that. It’s funny how it all goes around in the end.
I use both film and digital camera, but my heart is always with film. I just prefer it, the physical aspect, the cameras and building a relationship with a lab. It also means less time in front of a computer screen and editing just bores me to tears sometimes. Plus film just looks better most of the time.
Making a living from photography was never really a dream, It just seemed to happen by chance. I’ve always taken pictures but when I started to travel more in search of waves and new experiences I got more into it. I wanted to show people what I’d been seeing and what was out there. I don’t really think anyone was that bothered what I was doing at first, but I took more photos none the less. I started to sell a few shots of my mates surfing and my travels overseas, then it kind of spiraled from there. I like to think that my photos will inspire someone, somewhere, to drop it all and get out of the office.
You can earn a lot of money from photography, I don’t, but I know you can. I prefer to shoot photos on my own terms, get out and about, somewhere new and be inspired by the place and people and whats going on around me. I’m really lucky in that a few people belived in what I was doing and wanted to pay me to shoot these photos for them. I’m forever grateful for that, but if I need too, I’m not worried about filling the gaps with other work. I’ve had to wash dishes, dig holes in the rain and work as an elf in Santa’s grotto before and It feels good to get your head down and do some hard graft when the good jobs are thin on the ground. Achieving a good balance of work and lifestyle is so important I think. I’ve never been one to care much for money, that’s probably why I’ve never been too good with it either.
Whilst on a surf trip to Ireland, I made some good friends from Tasmania. I went home, saved some cash and later that year I flew out to visit them. I planned to stay for three weeks, but that turned into 4 months. Since then I’ve spent more and more time there over the years and it’s become a second home to me. My Tasmanian friends would leave and go travel around the world but passion for their little island would always bring them home. Something I found really inspiring. It’s a place you can really get lost in the wild if you want too, camp and have a good time in the outdoors, but also can live comfotably and simply. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to live there full time one day, buy a little plot of land near some waves and build a house. That’s just a dream I’m working on.
Most of the travelling I have done has been to surf, but a few years ago I took a long train journey, from the UK to Hong Kong, via Poland, Russia, Mongolia and China. It was nice to be travelling alone and without a boardbag or a trunk of camera gear for once, just one bag, one camera and loads of film, it felt so easy. Being so far from the ocean and not having the thought of waves or surfing in the back of your mind, not thinking “oh whats the swell doing” was suprisingly refreshing, just to turn off from it for a while and open your eyes to whats going on around you. Saying all that though, I made it to Australia a few months later and the first thing I did was buy a board and go surfing.
I’m forever broke and don’t really have a home at the moment, just a load of boxes and bags scattered around the world. I’m always dreaming, looking at maps, making plans and thinking of ways to make it all happen. I have this little thought that our time is always running out, the clock is always ticking, so I’d better make the most of it while I can. I’ll probably never be rich, but hopefully I’ll have shit load of photos and stories, and some kids to show them to one day. Yeah that would be alright.