My earliest memory involves photography. I was around two or three years old, I was speed-crawling along the hallway towards my parents’ bedroom and my dad took my picture with the family’s Polaroid camera. That shot is still in their photo album, along with many embarrassing shots of me in various outfits that are probably back in fashion by now!
That same Polaroid camera was entrusted to me on a school trip when I was seven, when our class went to Normanby Hall in Lincolnshire. I came away with twelve blurry, out of focus shots of the kids from my class, and a peacock. Well, I knew it was a peacock, but you couldn’t tell from the picture. That following Christmas I received my first camera, a 110 complete with several 24-exposure cartridges to go in it. I was over the moon! I would spend ages arranging my Star Wars toys and taking photos, and my mum would dutifully take the cartridges and get them developed. I think I must have cost her a fortune over the years, especially when at the age of 12 she took me to get my first SLR – a Pentax P30, a camera that stayed with me all the way through my remaining time in my home town of Grimsby and it came with me when I moved to Stoke to start my University time back in 1992.
After University, the realities of work took over my life, and photography fell by the wayside. Several years passed by, and I was working at the very University that I’d studied at, working in the media department. One day, we took delivery of our first batch of DSLRs, twenty brand spanking Nikon D50s, and from time to time I would borrow one to learn about it. Then came the Nikon D40s, and slowly I was hooked back in!
My first DSLR was a Nikon D40, and it’s still a part of my kit today. (Well, I say my kit – my wife has pretty much claimed it ever since she treated me to my latest number one camera – a Nikon D90!) That trusty D40 was one of my prized possessions, and it got some serious exercise – I remember taking it to an air show in 2007 and firing off over 2000 shots in a single day. With that D40 I’ve shot portraits, landscapes, pretty much anything that took my fancy! It also helped me to get one of the voluntary positions that I hold to this day, which is on the photography staff at Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey Club. That D40 got me my first double-page spread in the match night programme, a proud moment in my shooting history.
Since then, the D90 has come into my life, and that lovely piece of kit has been held to my eye to capture a wide range of subjects. I’ve shot at an ice hockey Play Off Final, and watched my team lift the trophy. I’ve shot the preparations for my own wedding and then shot the honeymoon too. I’ve photographed musicians, sportsmen, models, reenactors, colleagues and lawyers to name but a few.
Nowadays, the D90 and the D40 are often working in tandem, as my lovely wife Yolanda now shoots with me at Manchester Phoenix as a fellow member of the photography staff. I’m in my fourth season shooting there, and Yolanda is starting her second – so far she’s managed to avoid being hit by a stray hockey puck, whereas I find myself to be something of a puck magnet. Ah, the things we endure to take photographs!