Many moons ago (well, a few), I was asked by a careers advisor what I wanted to do when I left school. I told him I wanted to be a war photographer. He promptly told me to “think about getting a proper job”.
Although I did not become a war photographer, the conversation with the careers advisor did spur me on to apply to art college, where I fell in love with the magic of the darkroom and the studio.
Since then I have worked in commercial and portrait studios, as a medical photographer, and a mini-lab supervisor before I retrained and qualified as a journalist. Journalism offered me the opportunity to enhance my short filmmaking skills but for a while I lost touch with my individual photography.
It was while I was working as a journalist in Cornwall that the seed for my alternative photography company ShutterPod was born. This project has enabled me to continue to grow my passion for historic and camera-less techniques, not only through my own work but by providing workshops for the public, and health and social care support groups. I even ran a successful Crowdfund campaign that led to a mini alt-photo ‘festival’ Phototasia as part of Newquay Art 8 2014. I have focussed on cyanotype, lumen and instant film techniques as part of this.
My work with ShutterPod has been mainly self-taught, but I also use social media to connect to other photographers and follow a number of blogs and websites to stay informed.
I have made a number of short films; in particular, I worked with Cornwall Crafts Association to create a film for its WWI Centenary exhibition at the National Trust’s Trelissick House. This film, showcasing a number of participating artists at work, was also aired during 2016 at Trelowarren House and Truro Cathedral.
Along with this, I have set up a project focussing on people and their dogs, which I hope to continue to pursue while studying my MA. I would like to produce a book to help raise funds for local dog charities from this work.
In 2017, I was commissioned by Exeter University’s Environmental Science Institute and Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to highlight the work to develop software to support bees via the faming community. I also took part in a three-day residency at Hestercombe in Somerset to consider how visual artists can contribute to its development.
My interest in nature and the human impact on the environment is however the motivation behind my MA plans. I aim to produce interpretations of our world using nature’s bounty as a means to encourage better care-taking of our planet.