My love affair with the art of photography began when my aunt Evelyn who was working in Vancouver bought me a Brownie 127 when I was 11. Get the sun behind you and the subject in front and press the shutter, magic. Fixed aperture and a fixed lens kept me going until I discovered my father's Agfa camera with aperture and shutter control which was made to work with a lovely Weston Master exposure meter. I soon had my own darkroom (my bedroom) and went on to win the schools photographic competition, beating the local grammar school with an image processed in the school darkroom.
Grandmother bought me a Pentax SLR camera and I hit the road of the late 1960's, foolishly selling my camera for some herbs. In my trips around the country I created the 1971 Glastonbury free festival by having a word with the farmer Michael Eavis after his first festival in 1970 and found the people and the money to put on the forerunner of the present world class event, which I went back to the farm to help build.
Falling ill after many years on the road I ended up in hospital for a year and was bought a Fed Zorki 4 by my mother for my birthday and rekindled my old passion. Leaving hospital I joined a photography project at Weld in Handsworth and began to photograph the city of my birth, Birmingham.
Birmingham has never been compressively photographed by one or a group of image makers and I have only just scratched the surface of this great and evolving city. In this endeavour, first with 35mm black and white film, then with 35mm colour slides using a Canon T90 before migrating onto digital with a professional Nikon DSLR camera and this web site I have helped keep my disability at bay and had something to occupy my time.
My approach is to work on the street where my fancy takes me, about once or twice a week. These images are downloaded from the camera and then edited, usually anything from 500 to 1000 images edited down to 20 or 30 which are posted on flickr which has had over 350,000 hits since April 2005. Every year the very best of the Flickr images are posted on this web beautiful-birmingham.com which itself has had over 25,000 hits a month. This support has helped me carry on and at the moment I'm editing tens of thousands of colour slides which should be posted some time when this task is completed.
Street photography isn't easy you need a hard skin and a soft demure always treating your subjects with respect, often just asking to photograph someone is enough to get a startling image. I've been mugged for my camera and left with a broken hip, this with compensation from the criminal injuries people helped me build a Win XP computer in 1997. The art of photography has exploded with the world wide web and has become more democratic, that is it is more accessible to many more people and has to a large extent lost its exclusive tag which put so many people off the discipline.
I've had work exhibited at the Midland Arts Centre, Wolverhampton art gallery, the new Birmingham library and had pictures shown on Disability Arts Online and the book of the history of the Glastonbury festival.
Working on the principle that practice makes perfect I've been gently plodding on for decades and I thank you for supporting my work by visiting this web and wish you well with your own photographic projects. I'm also a poet and combine the two art forms in one web at http://sunshineonarainyday.netfirms.com
Thanks again for visiting, all the best;