- 0-2 years: born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a Northern Irish mother and an Irish father; learnt to talk.
- 2-8 years: a ‘wild & free’ childhood in Lima, Peru; learnt how to fight and play football.
- 8-18 years: privately educated / inculcated in a western England school run by Benedictine monks; learnt to adapt, forgot how to fight and play football.
- 18-19 years: moved to London to begin a rigorous deprogramming regime, squatting in a few of the many empty council flats and hanging out with social deviants of various persuasions (before Hoxton was trendy); occasionally, went on hitching sorties around Europe; learnt to think for myself.
- 19-23 years: achieved a degree in ‘Modern Iberian and Latin American Regional Studies’ at University College, London; learnt to express myself. Recognised the genius of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry and of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s prose.
- 23-29 years: long apprenticeship as a freelance photographic assistant in London; learnt a lot about commercial photography.
- 30-present day: career as a photographer, learning to be a husband and father….
- present day: somehow my photographic knowledge translates smoothly to me being a director, DoP, cameraman…
STILLS & FILMS
Defining moment #1: I’m 15 when my father rages at another messed up roll of film and chucks me his expensive Pentax. As they say, ‘One man’s poison is another man’s meat’. My camera becomes my constant companion.
Defining moment #2: I’m 19, I meet a girl, she likes to print her own black and white, the university has a photographic department, we print together… Other people like to print too. A silent community develops, in the darkness. Take pictures, print pictures, love a little.
Defining moment #3: after university, I find work in an ‘entrepreneurial’ business based in London’s King’s Cross, the seedy underbelly of central London. My boss discovers my passion for photography, letting me into his hidden life as a professional John Cleese lookalike, portfolio and all. The bookkeeper then finds out about my photography; her mother does the bookkeeping for Holborn Studios, famous as the first ever photography rental studios in London. ‘You like photography, don’t you? You should pop in. They’re always looking for assistants…’ So I do. I talk to them passionately about my love for photography. They take me on. Life is like that. Everybody knows somebody, somewhere.
Defining moment #4: after going freelance, I start my apprenticeship as an assistant photographer, working with all kinds of photographers, from portrait, to fashion, to still life. There are not many industries where one has the opportunity to closely observe people who have mastered their profession, assimilating all their hard-earned technical and business acumen. The creativity is up to you.
Defining moment #5: after moving to Helsinki, Finland, in June, 2002, (a young family, in Scandinavia; if you’ve never been, you won’t understand) I spend all my free time in the first year sandwiched on a spare computer between two photoshop gurus. I ask a lot of questions, they answer patiently. It’s like a neverending workshop. A huge learning curve and the transition from film to digital is realised.
Defining moment #6: and then Canon brings out the 5D MkII. Suddenly, I own a camera system able to shoot incredible HD video. A new learning curve begins… With my knowledge of lighting hundreds of locations and with my background in the constantly changing environment of fashion, who would have thought that I was ready to become an all-in-one Director, DoP and Cameraman. As I said recently to a friend of mine, “It’s all the same mathematics, just the equations are bigger.”