As a teenager my love of Spaghetti Westerns kindled my interest in cinematography.
I bought a Bell & Howell 16mm clockwork camera and projector with the help of my parents and started to make my own films. The rest as they say is history....
My application to the BBC for the role of Assistant Cameraman, was rejected when I was 18 years of age because I was deemed too young, as the job, they said, required living out of a suitcase!
Undeterred, I managed to secure a job in the Visnews, which enabled me to get a union ticket. Whilst there however, the BBC wrote to me offering a position in their film library, based in Brentford, which I gladly accepted as a foot in the door. There I teamed up with a colleague who was interested in sound and we made some films together. We used to take the exposed footage to the news film labs at the BBC Television Centre, where for tea money, they would tag our film onto the end of the 9 o’clock news roll for processing.
As the library was part of the film department, I seized every opportunity possible to go out filming on location during evenings, weekends, annual leave and informal attachments.
In 1976 I was fortunate to be taken on as a trainee assistant cameraman in the Film Unit based at Ealing Film Studios. The film unit was a self - contained unit of around 65 film crews responsible for everything the BBC shot on location all over he world. Over the next 11 years, I learned so much from working with cameramen now fellow BSC members, including Phil Méheux, Tony Pierce Roberts, Ken Macmillan, Ken Westbury, Mike Southon and Remi Adefarasin on a whole range of programmes that included everything from documentaries and comedy to drama. I am particularly indebted to Peter Hall and Paul Wheeler BSC, whom I assisted for a number of years and gave me the opportunity to operate for them.
After being made up to cameraman in 1987, during a spell of shooting Music & Arts documentaries, Director Nigel Finch recommended me to Ruth Caleb, a producer in the BBC single drama department. This led to my first TV film “Close Relations” directed by Adrian Shergold. Numerous drama series and single films followed and in 1995, I photographed Roger Michell’s “Persuasion”, for which I won my first BAFTA award for Photography and Lighting and an RTS Nomination. I also collaborated with Roger on “My Night With Reg” and our first feature “Titanic Town”
I received a BAFTA nomination in 1996 for the critically acclaimed “Our Friends in The North” and an RTS nomination for Arthur Millar’s “Broken Glass” directed by David Thacker.
In 1998 I won a second BAFTA award for “Far from the Madding Crowd” for Granada TV .
I left the BBC in 1998 to go freelance. Since then I have shot a number of features including “Fanny And Elvis”, “Essex Boys”, Greenfingers”, “The Parole Officer”, “Lila Dit Ça” and “Life and Lyrics”
Other highlights have included “Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky”, the BBC’s first drama to be shot digitally in High definition video for which I gained another BAFTA nomination in 2006 and a Knight of Illumination Award for lighting on my first multi-camera comedy series “Up The Women” in 2015
Nominated by Ken Westbury BSC, I became a member of the British Society of Cinematographers in 1995 and was elected to the Board of Governors in 2008. I had the honour of being presented with the BSC ARRI John Alcott Memorial Award in 2018 for my contribution towards perpetuating the aims of the society.
I have been BAFTA member since 1995 and serve on the boards of Screen Craft Rights and the IMAGO Technical Committee. Recently I have been doing some tutoring at the National Film and Television School, which I find immensely rewarding. It reminds me of my early years and gives me the opportunity to impart the valuable experience I’ve gained throughout my career to the next generation of cinematographers.