WHO AM I?
I was born in Birmingham and raised in Staffordshire, England for the first 16 years of my life.
I grew up with domestic violence and was subject to emotional and physical abuse, and I’m so grateful. Yep, without the struggles of my childhood, I wouldn't be who I am today.
I think you can go one way or the other. I made it my mission to be the opposite of my parents, instead of repeating the cycle.
In my teenage years, I discovered art as a form of escapism. I wrote poems, drew, sewed clothes, but it wasn't until I picked up a camera at the age of 14, that I felt peace. I had the power to freeze time. It was magic.
I remember the first photograph I took on a borrowed camera having no idea what I was doing. I can see that image so clearly in my mind and you might laugh, because it was a swarm of ants eating a bright orange Wotsit (Cheetoh) that had fallen onto lush green summer grass. Seeing a fast pace process from a world we don’t understand, frozen in time, gave me the ability to analyse every detail and I started relating the images I took to the way I felt.
So what do you think the images of a disgruntled, pubescent and lost teenage girl looked like? You guessed it. Deep, dark and depressing. Think of a tree, perched on top of a hill stripped of all its foliage with nothing surrounding it and protecting it from the harsh weather. And of course, in black and white. Sounds pretty glum right? Well, I felt just like that tree, but I saw the beautiful landscape and had a fire deep inside of me to make it through the seasons and blossom. My passion and drive to break the cycle and create what I craved, far outweighed the gut wrenching emotions to give in.
At 16, my parents moved to Australia and due to my age, I was forced to go with them. An absolute blessing in disguise. I was torn away from my two sisters, friends, my first love and the future I had planned for myself after being accepted into college to study photography. All of a sudden, I was on the other side of the world with no option to study or work because of the visa we were on and my support network was my dysfunctional parents.
The domestic violence got out of control, probably because of the isolation and the reality that moving country doesn’t fix a family.
That year, my camera became my everything. It never left my side, because when I picked it up, I was transported to another world. A world with endless possibilities. A world that I had complete creative control over.
As soon as I was able, I went and studied photography and started doing paid work for magazines here and there, but it wasn’t enough to escape my reality.
Half way through the last year, a group of police officers joined the course to enhance their work in scenes of crime. To say I was intrigued is an understatement. I was so close to finishing study but had no idea how to make photography into a secure income to enable me to escape. So, I went along to a police information night and within a few months I was accepted into the Queensland Police Academy with a Diploma of Photo-imaging under my belt.
Funnily enough, this was the opposite career choice you would think for a young tom boy who hated authority, listened to punk rock and loved a conspiracy theory. But, I trusted my gut and off I went and very quickly fell in love with having an impact and making a difference.
Fast forward eight years, and I can proudly call myself a Detective, having served the Queensland community and specialising in serious crime.
During my service, I let photography slide, only shooting landscapes and documenting travel. I guess helping victims of serious crime gave me a similar outlet to that of the art world. Unfortunately though, something terrible has to happen for police to get involved. The impact that police have is one of closure and of need, rather than one of want and desire.
I started sneakily photographing others, seeking out their purest reactions to moments they would easily forget. I gave these photos over and instantly became addicted to their immense gratitude for transporting them to a time filled with love and happiness.
Now I could freeze time, not just for me, but for everyone else that appreciated the one thing we forget to truly value…..human connection. Pure magic.
So now my purpose is in being present on people’s most treasured days, not their worst, and creating tangible memories to cherish for generations.
Now, you might be thinking, why so open and honest? Well, unlike other services you buy, a photographer is with you, your partner, your family and friends for upwards of 12 hours on the most important days of your lives. Being comfortable and trusting of your photographer is key to amazing, raw and emotive photos.
To put what I’ve said into perspective, not long into my policing career, my dad passed away. I didn’t go to his funeral and I don’t know where he is buried. I also have no relationship with my mother and next to none with my sisters. However, I don’t dwell on these things, I see it as life experiences which I use on every shoot.
Every moment of your special day is captured through my perspective. I seek out moments that I would hold close to my heart. Moments that I used to wish I had. Moments that I now understand and find joy in delivering to you.