As a child in Nottingham, the idea of cinema was a dream world. Far away from my reality.
It never occurred to me that I could participate.
But somehow, the world of entertainment beckoned me from an early age.
While still at school I worked part-time, backstage at the local Theatre Royal. I began helping the stagehands to lift flats on hemp rope, moving lamps, installing gels, cables and learning about the dimmers and cues. There was some exotic element that warmed my heart and made me curious.
I had learned how to use a camera at an early age, and I enjoyed the connection between me and the subject. I discovered the technique and the pleasure of photography.
I moved to London in 1972, having found a job working in a photographic studio, which I enjoyed but I was frustrated by the amount of work and time involved in making a single shot. At the camera rental store I saw a Bolex and realised there was something more I wanted to learn. I scoured the Yellow Pages for film companies.
I got a job at Samuelson’s Film Services in Cricklewood in 1974, and I knew that was the right place for me. I loved the magic of the motion picture camera, and I was like a sponge soaking up every piece of knowledge. There were a group of unique experts in the art of developing and maintaining camera gear. Joe Dunton was an innovative engineer building on the expertise of Karl Kelly, Bill Woodhouse, Marshall Martin and the guys who now run Movitech as well as the Samuelson brothers. They taught me a lot! I also met a lot of DP’s who would help shape my future.
When I left Sammy’s in 1978 I was able to work as a clapper loader and very quickly started working with some first class focus pullers, Adrian Biddle, Hughie Johnson and many others who were great teachers. As a focus puller I was able to work with Adrian, Hughie and Oliver Stapleton amongst others. I learned a lot from these guys.
While working as a focus puller I began to shoot music videos and short films for young up and coming directors which led to quite a lot more work as a cameraman.
One of the up and coming directors was Oliver Parker. He had developed a script version of Shakespeare’s Othello with Kenneth Branagh, and he asked me to be the cinematographer.
It was 1994 and David Baron was the producer who took a gamble and agreed to let me shoot my first feature film! This led to a number of other movies which in turn bought me to the attention of Michael Samuelson who in 1996 nominated me for membership of the BSC.
Over the years I have photographed Features, Music Videos, Documentaries, Commercials, shorts and TV shows. Amongst my favourites are “Othello”, “Hilary and Jackie”, “On A Clear Day”, and “Resident Evil.” The Documentary’s: “Chasing Shadows” The Music Videos “Amy Winehouse Back to Black” and commercials “Levi’s circles”.