Dusty Springfield, an MPP Micropress and EastEnders.

PHOTOGRAPHY PERSPECTIVESPERSONAL REFLECTIONS

3/7/20244 min read

Upon finishing school; let’s not beat about the bush, I was expelled, I found myself at Brian Goodchild's Cameras in Stratford, a true haven for shutterbugs. I was good at my job but my course needed steering towards actually taking photos. The store owner, a diamond of a man, saw my passion for photography and generously financed my trip to Kodak's London headquarters for an intensive training course.

At the Kodak HQ, I got my first taste of street photography. With a gleaming new Kodak camera and several rolls of film in hand, with my fellow students we roamed the streets of London, capturing the city's raw energy and vibrant life. The course, not only refined my technical knowledge but also laid the foundation for my lifelong love for street photography. Little did I know then that these transformative days would more than half a century later inspire the creation of my Facebook group, "Street Photography, Cartier-Bresson Inspired" - a beacon of inspiration for street photographers worldwide.

It was at Brian Goodchild’s that I struck up an unlikely friendship with a remarkable fellow named Hugh Miller. Hugh, a prolific writer of magic books and partner in a London magic business, was a regular customer, who I learned to admire, and soon became a mentor in my nascent career in photography.

If I find myself reminiscing about Stratford-on-Avon, I recall a young lad, camera in hand, and a sparkle in his eye. Yours truly, was that ambitious lad, fresh from an adventurous stint in Aden, Yemen, now living in the quintessentially British village of Ettington, looking for clients to capture and immortalise through his lens.

One day, Hugh invited me to his house in Wellesbourne to help with some photos for his new book. I found myself in the extraordinary position of holding props and even operating the shutter. This was my first taste of professional photography and the excitement was palpable. If you dig into some old magic books, you might even stumble upon some of my early work, and pictures of me!

Hugh, with his colourful Glasgow accent and an endless collection of fascinating stories, was nothing short of inspiring. He exposed me to London's vibrant magic scene, taking me to his shop on Wardour St and the exclusive Magic Circle – a rare privilege indeed.

While I continued to shoot weddings and portraits, I felt a shift in my aspirations. Inspired by Hugh, I decided it was time to elevate my photography business. I wanted to target a more upscale market, and to do that, I knew I needed to adjust my pricing to reflect the high-quality service I aimed to provide. But it wasn't just about the price tag; I wanted to ensure my work truly resonated with the top-tier quality I was striving for. My reliable Yashica 635 had been a great partner on this journey, but I felt the need for something more to truly take my work to the next level.