Click here to discover what sparked my imagination
When I was 15-years old I lived in Boston. Unfortunately for me, this Boston wasn’t the colourful, vibrant city in the New England state of Massachusetts, rather the quiet market town in the English county of Lincolnshire, historically tied to its American namesake by the Pilgrim Fathers but a place best known for its Dutch-like landscape and the agricultural prowess of its inhabitants. What I’m trying to say is, I grew up in a part of England that required a lot of a young boy’s imagination.
At school, one day, I was asked to select my preferred employer for a 2-week work placement. The options weren’t good. Planting potatoes, cleaning daffodil bulbs or picking strawberries were three of the more attractive alternatives. That evening, at the dinner table, seeing my inner turmoil in a way only dads can, my father asked me what I wanted to do for a career. Without hesitation I replied, “I want to be a photo-journalist”.
From where that statement came, I have no idea. Not a clue. I remember wanting to be (at various times and in no particular order) a fireman, a policeman, a jet pilot, a train driver, a ski jumper and, of all things, an accountant. But a photo-journalist? That was a new one, even to me. Even so, at my father’s behest and with the reluctant blessing of the school, at the tender age of 15 I set off on my first ever assignment – and for another decade and a half, my last. Because, in between, like Dick Whittington before me, I was waylaid by London’s promise of gold. Nevertheless, whatever spark ignited that school-time outburst of innocent aspiration, a seed had been sewn. And sixteen years later, at the age of 31, I realised that when I grew up I did indeed want to be a photo-journalist.
Today, my list of credits include the BBC, ITV, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and National Geographic. I’ve written over 30 books on photography and wildlife and I’m an X-Photogapher ambassador for Fujifilm. Magazines such as Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography and Amateur Photographer speak very nicely about me and my fine art photography is represented by the Marylebone Gallery in central London. But most of all, I am still passionate about what I do. I love being out in the field with my camera and, more than anything, I love telling stories through the medium of photography.
From the plains of Lincolnshire to the plains of Africa – How I became a wildlife photographer
We are storytellers – My photographic philosophy
Storytelling in action – Why are zebras black and white striped