Unlike most photographers, as a kid I wasn’t at all interested in photography. In fact, I didn't have a particularly high opinion of photographers at all.
I had imagined that I’d grow up to be a writer. A childhood watching Bewitched meant that I was leaning towards copywriting - with expectations of a career filled with supernatural shenanigans.
Between school and university I took a year off, and applied for agency junior roles. Somehow, possibly due to a clerical error, I was selected above hundreds of applicants to assist legendary fashion photographer Stan Ciccone, on David Jones catalogue.
Stan was an inspirational photographer to work with. He had a very big personality - an unlikely mix of Master Po, Grandpa Walton, and Austin Powers. He was full of gentle fatherly wisdom, mixed in with the occasional “yeah baby!”.
More than anyone I have ever known, Stan loved his job, and his enthusiasm for photography was infectious. He was well into his sixties, and still experimenting techniques, still fine tuning his craft.
For me, it wasn’t hard to put the writing career on hold. When fate offers you the choice of days spent with beautiful models at exotic locations, versus slaving over a typewriter, the decision is pretty simple. For an 18 year old boy, especially so.
Within weeks, I was shooting professionally. I was too naive to realise that it was kind of a big deal. Within 18 months I had my first industry award.
Since that time, I’ve shot just about everything there is to shoot. Advertising, food, catalogue, industrial, people, automotive, reportage, beauty, fashion and more. My work has won industry awards in fields as diverse as food, catalogue, automotive, environmental engineering, and portraiture.
I think being more a writer at heart than a photographer has given me an unlikely advantage in what I do. Aside from the obvious “I’m a writer who tells stories with pictures” blah, there are some practical advantages I have over other photographers.
For one thing, I don’t have a style. I’m very good at adapting my technique to suit the brief. I’m not precious about what I do. I have no reverence for convention or artistic baggage, I enjoy breaking rules, and pushing the boundaries, new techniques, new technology, tricks, cheats. I’m an early adopter - I’ve been using imaging software since 94, back when people thought Photoshop was a store that sold pictures.
In my work today I use a wide variety of disciplines in creating images, garnered over nearly 3 decades - be it photography, imaging, or wholly 3D modelled. With the exception of original layouts, everything you see on this website I have created from scratch. As far as I am aware (I have not researched this) I’m the best photographer/retoucher/3D illustrator in the world.
Thank you Stan Ciccone. It’s been quite an adventure so far. What is next?