My life in photography started as a part time rock musician in the 50's who was a coal miner by day but who was always interested in any of the arts. After a fairly long and unsuccessful time as a pro musician, lots of booze, failed records, travel and other things (decide for yourself?) I gave it up to return to college as a mature(?)student. At the same time I purchased my first camera, an old Minolta Autocord twin lens reflex for ten pounds sterling. The obsession began.
I quickly became hooked on black and white and spent every spare minute and all the cash I could get on film, paper and chemicals. Hours, no days, were spent in the darkroom producing countless postcard size prints which littered the house until I was persuaded to confine them to the litter bin. It was like destroying part of my soul. When I discovered 16 x 20 paper nothing changed except that the litter bin started to take over the house.
Eventually I achieved some level of quality and consistency and started to give lectures to the local camera clubs, this was followed in a few years by giving some printing demonstrations and then full blown workshops. I didn't know it then but my photographic career was in it's infancy.
The next step was to agree to write one article for Photo Pro, a British Photographic Magazine. That one article turned into a 15 year stint of writing many articles for many magazines until 2 years ago when I decided that I needed a rest from the monthly deadlines. One day soon I plan to make a come back. As a result of starting to write I decided it was time to give up the acountancy job that I had studied for as a mature student and my life as a full time photographer, printer, teacher started. That was 12 years ago and whilst I have not got rich in monetary terms my life has been greatly enrichened by the people I have worked with as well as those I have taught.
I will never retire even if I have to propped up in front of the enlarger and have a young assistant to focus the image because of my failing eyesight. One thing I will never give up is the daily ritual of getting my hands into the developer and dripping fixer down the front of my shirt, usually the one that is my wife's favourite.
To anyone reading this who is thinking of becoming a pro photographer I say give it a go, otherwise you will forever ask yourself why you didn't and what you may have missed. However, a word of warning, it is not easy and you should forget about a 9 to 5 workday. Oh, and you probably will not make a lot of money either.