A few years ago I took the biggest decision of my life. I walked out of my long and well established career to pursue my own dreams and ambitions. That was nearly 4 years ago and I invite you to join me on the latest step of my journey.

Employment and climbing the corporate ladder were the usual expectations for me and I spent the first 20 years of my working life duly obliging, Working hard, gaining promotions and my ever increasing responsibilities made my family proud and me miserable. It was never the life I wanted but it was hard to tell anyone that this was not for me. Eventually even my family began to notice how unhappy I was and things finally came to a point that I knew I had to change, and change I did.

It was January 2010 and I sat there wondering quite what I am going to do with my life, I had just enjoyed my first Xmas off in 15 years and the initial euphoria of being free to do what I wanted each day was beginning to wear off and with the pressures of the future now vying for my attention a decision had to be made.

Photography was always something that I had enjoyed, but never seriously. I was the happy auto amateur that had more interest in lens zoom and pixels than composition and art but somewhere, very deep inside was this creative version of me and he sensed this was his time to lead.

With a wealth of time at my disposal I spent as much as I could devouring books, magazines and internet sites to teach myself what I needed to know to be able to work in the photographic industry and I was quickly surprised at the enormity of the global reach and involvement that this business reaches.

Within 9 months though I felt I was ready for my first foray in the world of self-employment, I thought my work was comparable to those already plying their trade and the pressing need to bring in some sort of financial remuneration was beginning to manifest itself in the form of my bank manager screaming at me like a drill sergeant (come to think of it, that might not have been my imagination) and I set myself up as a freelance operator.

So up I got, bright and early for my first day at work, I made the long journey from the Kitchen to my new office (the guest bedroom) and dressed in a shirt and tie I sat at my new desk and as the clock ticked to 9am I stared at the phone and waited for it to ring, and waited and waited and waited. By about ten past nine it began to dawn on me that perhaps something more was needed so drew up a plan.

Over the next few weeks I drove around and visited lots of local businesses, introducing myself and leaving information. Eventually this began to have a small effect and jobs started to trickle in, from there word of mouth allowed my reputation to grow and better jobs emerged. One such contract was for the Holiday Inn hotel group to work as an event photographer for their Xmas parties and so my business was truly born.

After a few months I found that shooting cute babies and drunken party revellers was no longer meeting my creative urges and I began to get the old hankering back that I wanted more, and although this was certainly better than working for a living I felt I could be better, reach higher and enjoy far more success than I currently had. I wanted to take my skills to the next level so it was either combat trousers and a camo gilet or going back to school.

School came in the shape and size of New College Stamford and I embarked upon a 2 year full time extended national diploma. Before starting there were two things that struck me, what on earth were we going to learn that could fill 2 years of teaching and how am I going to feel being sat in a classroom with a bunch of teenagers? Well the group of adolescent academics were incredibly welcoming and the course slowly opened my mind even further to the depths that photography truly went. Throwing myself into my studies I embraced everything I was taught, slowly unlocking my understanding of creative image making and having 2 of the happiest years that I could remember. My reward for my efforts were a D*D*D* grading and the realisation that I had only just begun to satiate my desire for knowledge.

So that brings me here, 3 months after leaving college I have started at Coventry University, this blog will chart my progress through the next 3 years where I will share my research, images and personal thoughts and opinions. I also encourage anyone who chooses to follow to post their views, everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach. I am ready to take on board anything I feel will help me improve my skills and creativity and look forward to working with everyone, both at Coventry and the world in general.



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