About & Contact Me
The sight of the sea stirs something deep inside me. A distant horizon evokes a sense of vast scale and adventurous freedom. The dynamic optics in a raging tempest sets my adrenaline coursing. While the flaring hues and mirrored reflections in a glorious dawn or dusk fill me with awed wonder. Moreover, standing beside the ocean with my camera makes me feel alive!
The call of the sea has been there ever since I was a small child playing on remote bays along the Kent and Sussex shoreline. Yet when I first saw the Cornish coast on a family holiday in 1974, I fell under the Atlantic's powerful spell. The crystal clear water and cresting emerald waves were simply mesmerising. In exploring them with my snorkel, fishing rod and bodyboard I had found my element. When the time came to leave, I precociously announced to my parents that one day I would live in Cornwall.
As for photography, both grandfathers and my father were keen amateurs. I loved their 'magic lantern' evenings when their slides were projected onto a large screen. This was back when TV was a small, grainy black and white. So seeing our family escapades up big and in glorious Fujicolor, Kodachrome or Agfacolor made a huge impression. I was fascinated by their conversations on whose composition or film choice captured this scene or that hue better, and I always chipped-in with my opinions. This was duly noted and for my 9th birthday a 35mm Kodak Instamatic led me into the world of capturing moments.
Secondary School saw a brilliant Head Of Art, Mr. Bowerman, taking me under his wing and giving me free rein of his jealously guarded photography department. Here an Olympus OM1 and endless rolls of Ilford B&W film saw me developing my camera and dark room skills. Under his artistic guidance I learned to use a camera and the developing and printing processes as creative tools to be freely experimented with. An attitude that became deeply engrained in my photographic psyche.
When I left 6th Form, Anthony Bowerman's shining reference gave me a shoo-in to Epsom College of Art and Design and thereafter into the bright lights of London's Advertising scene. From lowly Studio Junior I soon established my creative and communication credentials, gaining my own commissions and art directing top photographers.
Witnessing how they manipulated their light was a privilege. As was seeing how colour technicians worked their magic in the dark art of colour processing. I eagerly took everything in and built my photography and communication skills in equal amounts. However, interminably 'sterile' studio shoots tempered my enthusiasm for personal work. Also I was in my 20's and away from work adrenaline-fuelled thrill-seeking ruled the waves. So while I always took a camera along on my adventures, it took a backseat to the surfboards, fins and kayaks.
By the early 90's the Digital Studio had revolutionised the creative industry and I was running my own creative 'Hot Shop' in Covent Garden. Through art directing my Mac operators, I had learned and embraced the amazing imaging capabilities of Adobe Photoshop. After a frustratingly unstable start, once Apple launched the Power Mac, this RAM-hungry software transformed our commercial outlook. Armed with potent computers, software and imaginations, business was booming.
However, there was one big 'but'...
I remained wholly unimpressed with digital photography.
The first hybrid 'DSLR' cameras with their ludicrous +£20k price tags, temperamental operation and dodgy 2MB image files were awful to work with. As a result I, and most of my peers, sidelined them to shooting pack shots. Yet some abused the medium, heralding a horrid period when professional photography's good name was dragged through the gutter via the tabloid press. For a short period the 'red tops' had their fun, but amateurish, over-zealous image processing quickly gave rise to the derisive term "photoshopped". I took exception to this and as a result I stuck with film and hi-res scanning for the best part of 18 years.
That was until 2009 when I recognised what the fantastically capable combination of the Full Frame sensor, Raw file format and Photoshop could achieve. This dynamic trio finally won me over and my photography was transformed overnight. Commercially, photography's lucrative revenue stream was brought fully in-house. While personally, down on my beloved tidelines the DSLR set me free!
Frame counting no longer shackled the impulse to shoot. There was no more hassle of loading film on a windswept beach. And the exposure triangle was rounded-off by the ability to change ISO at will. All this in conjunction with a range of Lee filters, a powerful flash gun, and my experimental approach, began to work wonders.
The timing of this digital revelation could not have been better. For by now my appreciation of unspoilt natural surroundings was becoming profound. Since childhood I had always noted and enjoyed the beauty in Nature. But by my early 30's, as my horizons widened, I was often moved to tears by the beauty and spectacle I witnessed on my coastal adventures. Now, in my 40's, I positively yearned for remote shorelines and distant islands. In my search for new places and experiences I travelled extensively, and my DSLR's were my constant companions.*
International destinations were fascinatingly diverse yet Scotland's breathtaking West Coast and Hebridean Isles drew me back time after time. As did Cornwall's coastal majesty. Where the more I explored, the more I realised this was the perfect place for Seascape photography. For beyond an unrivalled variety of spectacular coastal locations, there was the wonderful 'Atlantic light'.
It was the great artist JMW Turner who first attested to this Cornish coastal phenomenon.** His visionary masterpieces are a huge influence on my Seascape approach and I can only strive to capture my light in the way he so masterfully expressed it.
To top it all, the Cornish peninsular's geographic aspect provided the ability to shoot the directional light of sunrises and sunsets at stunning locations that were just a few miles apart. Nowhere else in the UK mainland affords the same opportunity, so Cornwall became my Seascape focal point.
As 50 approached, the call of the sea alongside a much needed change of lifestyle and commercial direction became my overwhelming drivers. For while I had loved my career, after three decades London's bright lights were fading and I craved new horizons and photographic challenges.
In 2011, after being cajoled by friends and family into entering, I won the coveted 'Cornish Point Of View' photography award. This gained me wider recognition and led to my first solo Seascape exhibition the following year that proved very successful.
With my confidence boosted, I created a brand around my new logo, where my initials were shaped by a verdant leaf (A leaf captures daylight and turns it into energy and I liked the synergy with my work) and launched my first photography website. With the ensuing print sales from my online shop combining with private commissions and stock library royalties, I began to generate 'Seascape' income.
However, being realistic, I knew these revenue streams would never be reliable enough to live on. Neither would commercial photography because the market was at saturation point. Graduates willing to shoot for peanuts to bolster their portfolios, alongside cheap online stock sources and simplistic processing software had seen penny-pinching clients starting a race to the bottom. Therefore I sought something new and different. An income source that balanced my professional talents with my new life-style aspirations.
As a result, over the last few years of travelling with my cameras, the germ of an idea had grown into a fully-costed business concept. I would bring my professional and personal assets together to offer a unique take on the booming photography workshop market.
In February 2013, I finally kept my childhood promise and moved to Cornwall. A few months later I launched my Cornish Seascape Workshops and a positive response was immediate. My first paying client was a professional photographer who liked the idea of taking a break to shoot Cornwall and learning how to process Raw files through Photoshop on a one-to-one basis. We both had a great time and she went home very happy. In her workshop review, she wrote "I never use the 'A' word but my Cornish Seascape Workshop was Awesome!" I used this throughout a new advertising campaign and it all went on from there.
Today, some ten years later, I could not be happier. My Seascape photography fills my days with challenge and reward while my award-winning workshops have earned an international reputation for unrivalled excellence. In light of this I am currently expanding the business by building a dedicated Studio/Print facility alongside a self-catering guest apartment for a new photography holiday venture.
Please visit the 'Workshops & Holidays' section for more information.
To contact me about any aspect of my photography, limited edition artworks or commissioned services, either email me at -
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +44(0)7850 569 409
* The Canon EOS 5D MkII and Canon EOS 1DSMkIII were my first digital cameras.
** Many art historians agree it was his first Cornish experience in 1811 that set Turner on the course of expressing directional light for the rest of his life. In later years, artists of the Newlyn School narrowed down the special light conditions to the environs around St Ives Bay. Yet I have witnessed the effect all around the West Cornwall peninsular. I believe that clean, 'un-polluted' daylight pierces clear, shallow sea and reflects and refracts back off bright golden sand, will conjure 'Atlantic Light'.