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Well, it's me

That's not a picture of me obviously, but my friends will know why I chose it.  Mainly because this literary character has been the one who has most influenced my life. 

I was born in Birmingham and grew up in Tamworth.  Now I'm based in the Gravesend/Medway area after spending most of my adult life in London and the South East.  I am married to a Leyton Orient/Palace supporting aerospace engineer/musician who believes in aliens and the afterlife.   I part own two restaurants in central London which I've sunk about 80 grand into for them never to make a penny .  I have two sons Gabriel 12 and Caleb 5 by two different Dads.  My all time favourite band is Talking Heads and my all time favourite singer is Peter Gabriel; if by some one in a billlion chance he ever came across this site, I'd like to tell him that he so influenced my life that I named my son after him.  

Fave books are 1984 and Great Expectations.  I have a Literature degree and I can be a bore about writers I like such as Eliot, Pinter, Lawrence, Dickens, Ftizgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, Bronte, Tolkien and others.  I quote Eliot, 1984, LOTR, Dickens and Pinter profusely much to the annoyance of everyone.  I like British history and enjoy arguing with people who I feel have warped perceptions on the likes of Richard III,  Anne Boleyn and others.

I love poetry especially some of the 20th century poets such as Eliot, Edward Thomas, Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Owen.  I find as I go through life, Eliot has something to say about almost every aspect of our existence in this world and I have found there's been many times where I've looked to him for answers and found enlightenment. Finally, the wonderful Simon Armitage whose modern poems I adore and which have so much to say about the world we are in.

When I was at Uni I was lucky enough to attend a lecture with Harold Pinter and without having read a single thing he'd ever written before the lecture started, he utterly blew me away that night, and since then, the character he created has been a tremendous influence on my life.  And now, I'm a Pinter guru, with my younger son taking Aston as a middle name.

Anyway, it was my uncle who started me with photography in the early 80s by giving me a Kodak Instamatic 126 when I was about 10 years old.  I would take photos of my cat and my baby brother.  Sometimes I would take the camera to school and take photos of friends, both around the school and on trips .  Above all, I started taking the Kodak to Tamworth FC in the 1980s.  My uncle would take the films off me every Saturday afternoon and get them developed on Erdiington high street.  He was always very surprised at the amount of photos I took but always told me they were good. 

I have pretty much lost touch with the uncle now which is a shame as he was the one who started me on this journey, and sometimes I wonder if he'd be interested in seeing where it's got me.  In 2019 however, I found some long lost relatives from my grandmother's side and discovered my great grandfather was an architect and a photographer who used the 1920s equivalent of Photoshop to manipulate negatives and produce what my father called when he saw them, an almost bizarre-like Sergeant Pepper 1920s album cover of people.

I really am not 'all that' interesting, but I do love the banter and the passion of football at all levels be it from the EPL to National League and lower still, and I've followed a few teams.  I married into a West Ham supporting family nearly 20 years ago and my in-laws were very influencial in capturing my soul with a claret and blue net and chucking it into the Chicken Run at Upton Park where it still remains (if only in spirit) .  Despite being divorced, I am still a Hammer.

When I moved to Southend in 2000 I met some very good photographers there, in particular my friend Dave who introduced me to street photography and showed me photos taken by Martin Parr around UK seaside resorts - full colour and using fill in flash - these photos have majorly influenced me, not because I wanted to copy them, but for the very fact it was interesting and fun to go around documentating people's interactions with life.  There is something about a candid shot that says more than a posed one does.  And yes, I admit to doing the Martin Parr thing with full colour and fill in flash. On my family and friends, I use black and white portraiture.

Before moving to Southend, I had only taken photos of family, friends or buildings.  Southend is full of characters and is a great starting point for any aspiring street photographer. 

Most of my photography these days is street based and I find football fan culture fascinating. If I'm not at West Ham/Orient on a Saturday, I'll be off somewhere else.  Now I live a few minutes from Rochester in Kent which, with its characters and events, is also a superb area to cover.

I photograph public events and live music on a local basis around London and Kent.   Please use the 'contact me' page to arrange a shoot. There is no charge for my services for our local Rochester street performers and characters who raise thousands for charity each year and bring much needed warmth and  business to the Medway towns in these very challenging times.  Just let me know what you want and where you'll be.

Also on this site you will find my Grandfather-in-law's massive back catalogue of photographs which were taken as far back as the late 1940s up until his death in 2004.  This has been a big part of my life's work to document and has taken me over over 10 years to complete.  The hoard was discovered in his youngest son's garage/attic in 2008 and provides a fascinating glimpse into some parts of the UK over the decades , particularly holiday places such as Blackpool, Weymouth and Devon.  When I discovered the photos, mainly on Kodachrome slide, there was a bizarre similarity between Grandad's pictures of holiday places and people and what I'm doing myself.  Oddly enough, the bizarre trait has now afflicted my son who is always off out taking photos - it's like some kind of inheritance.

Use the contact me form if you wish to license any of my own or Grandad's photographs, or wish to arrange a shoot.  Thanks to all my friends and family for supporting me with my work.  Particularly Nicci Jones my editor in Gravesend and the team at Introflexion in Hoxton.