I thought it might be worthwhile giving you some background information on my lifelong involvement with photography, my motivations etc. Given that whatever your photographic needs are, commissioning a photographer ultimately involves spending time with them, so knowing a little about how they work and tick is no bad thing.
I have been involved in photography since the age of four, initially under the watchful eye of my grandfather, also a photographer when he gave me my first camera – a box Brownie. I virtually grew up in his darkroom, watching where possible, listening when not, transfixed by the magic of photography. He learnt his craft in a similar way – his grandfather (my great-great grandfather, W J Anckorn) was also a photographer. My love and enthusiasm of the medium has stayed with me throughout my career since starting in the profession in 1984, and I believe this shows through in the images I create and the way in which I work.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was rarely without a camera, photographing just about anything and anyone that would allow me to capture an image for posterity, covering school sports days and local gymkhanas, and earning good pocket money undertaking portrait and family sittings for those courageous enough to employ a boy to do a man’s job.
I left home at 18 to seek fame and fortune in London. I found neither, but did land employment as a photographer’s assistant to a still life advertising photographer. This was the “normal” way forward in commercial photography, akin to an apprenticeship, where money earned rarely covered rent and daily living. However, it was an extremely good way to learn, and before long I had opportunities to work for photographers in other fields…..mostly for fashion (a shoot for Italian Vogue proved a bit of an eye-opener) and food photographers. This gave me a very broad base of knowledge on which to build my own work.
Wind forward to the mid-90’s in Norfolk, when I fell in to social photography, and became a very early exponent of what is now known as reportage wedding photography. At the time, this was quite an innovative style, with the “norm” being endless groups of bored people and fake “doing things” shots, misty vignettes etc. I much preferred capturing the day as events unfolded in a way that told a story in photographs with the minimum of fuss and intervention. This proved a very popular style and has now been adopted by many wedding photographers.
Until the mid noughties, commercial (especially wedding) photography was the preserve of professionals, who needed knowledge and technical skills as well as artistic flair to produce good images. An understanding of light, f-numbers, shutter speeds, film, processing, dark-room manipulation and a host of other dark arts were the secrets we guarded. The advent of digital cameras made photography accessible to all and sundry, so those equipped with a first and last name, and a half decent digital SLR branded themselves as “photographers”. Some proved to be very good….but others continue to function by dubious virtue of a game of chance! I am of course biased, but I truly believe that grounding in and familiarity with the fundamental skills associated with pre-digital photography is a real asset and that those skills when used with modern equipment and photo editing software are a very powerful and reliable combination.
You’ll see from the variety of photographs on these web pages, that I’m comfortable and capable of working across a broad spectrum of genres. I mix equally well with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, able to tease the best photo opportunity out of any situation.