I was born in Windsor in 1965. I was privately educated (firstly at Papplewick where I was deeply unhappy, then to my relief much more positively at Barfield School. All this was such a long time ago now that I expect both institutions have changed out of all recognition). At 13 Charterhouse followed which furnished me a very mixed experience, probably made unnecessarily difficult by my having significant and (at that time) undiagnosed attention deficit issues. However my lack of interest in the classroom did give me the opportunity to study photography and astronomy on my own terms in my free time, a valuable experience that has stayed with me for the rest of my life. In spite of my dislike of the formal school process I did however get into university, graduating LL.B from Buckingham and LL.M from Cambridge. Some years later I took a one year diploma course in photography at Kingston.
In my time I have worked in several different contexts, most happily as a software trainer and home educator. I live in the south of England with my wife Karen together with our children Emily and Joshua. My beautiful wife Karen has been an inspiration, not least because of her profound intellectual curiosity and imaginative/creative attitude to life - I have learned so much from her.
Origins of my interest in the night
Looking back to the very start of my fascination with the night, learning about astronomy as a teenager was fundamental, but deeper still were earlier childhood influences which have taken a long time for me to consciously retrieve. I have always had a fascination with silhouettes in my work, which I can probably trace back to the wonderful illustrations of Jan Pienkowski, I particularly remember his image of Vasilissa approaching Baba Yaga's hut by moonlight! Ran deep for me that image did, but I only recalled it very recently. Memory is a strange thing:
Another influence was Waddington/Letraset's Haunted House Panorama. This comprised a large 3ft fold out card printed with a moonlit scene, the idea was you could rub the supplied transfers of ghosties into the facade of a haunted house or its sepulchred garden, all watched over by a bloated moon. I must have bought several copies of this when quite small because I now remember it vividly:
My Avebury work was influenced by the strange surface landscape images from the Apollo moonlandings with their unique union of sunlit ground and black night skies. I also had in mind the stark and eerie photographs of the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean, truly among the most moving and awe inspiring night images I have seen.
Photographs Of Me
I wouldn't normally include multiple photographs of myself on here on Nightfolio. However, somewhere on the internet there is a website by a student which purports to show a photo of me together with a selection of my night photos. This irritates me for 3 reasons:
1. The photo that purports to be of me on the offending website, isn't of me at all. Its of someone else. Admittedly I am not as goodlooking as the model shown there, but I do have more hair.
2. Three of the night photographs shown on the student's website are wrongly attributed to me, which is particularly irritating as these works by the other photographers are clearly inferior to mine.
3 There doesn't appear to be any obvious way for me to contact the student direct so I can't politely and privately contact them to ask for a takedown of the offending material.
Sorry to appear petty about this, but I don't like lazy research (another student website claims that I spend most of my time in Hawaii, a hilarious assertion particularly as 100% of my images are clearly made in southern England), so in the admittedly unlikely event you want to know what I look like here are 2 images from early and advanced stages of my night photography life:
Me circa 1981/82:
The image below was taken a bit later (!) when I grew a beard during the 2020 pandemic lockdown: