In a quiet leafy suburb a lone figure walks through a park, crosses a stream, and enters a storm drain.
He walks through the ankle deep water and I follow as a feeling of claustrophobia creeps into me. I try to keep up but slip on some slime and water splashes my face in the darkness.
Paul Walsh is an artist who is totally at home in this subterranean world and as he walks he shines the torch on his phone into the void and gives me a running commentary of the graffiti artists who have tagged down there.
Finally we emerge into the light, at the end of the tunnel, as we reach the spot where Paul will do his piece.
It’s a fairytale world where tropical plants hang down graffiti clad walls and birds bathe in the water that runs through the storm drain while, bizarrely, bright orange goldfish swim in the pools that are cut off from the main flow.
All is silent apart from the birdsong, the sound of an occasional inner city train as it thunders overhead and the rattle of spray cans as Paul gets to work….This is not commercial art produced to sell but something crafted for the pure love of it and the need to create and be creative. A few hours pass by like seconds and then Paul is finished.
As we trudge back through the darkness shafts of light illuminate urban artworks rarely seen by the public walking above us. We say our goodbyes and I make my way back through the city watching commuters in suits hurry across town and teenage kids, still in their school uniforms, smoking on swings in the park.
Alone in the darkness of the tunnel the black and white face of Charles Bukowski stares out and his words echo eerily
“some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
Just got back from a fantastic 2 day photographic workshop I was invited to give at Tedworth House in Wiltshire.
Tedworth House is a Personnel Recovery & Assessment Centre for wounded, sick and injured Servicemen and Women run by the world renowned charity organisation – Help for Heroes.
Help for Heroes is exactly that and aims to provide as many facilities as possible to support the recovery process in helping those who have served their country adjust to their injuries and deal with the emotional, physical and mental realities of a new life.
As someone who believes that anyone with an interest in photography can become a photographer it is always a privilege to be able to pass on the knowledge, experience and passion that I have in the hope that it might inspire others.
What was inspiring for me were the characters that I met throughout my stay.
From the injured ex-Paratrooper who loved wide open landscapes and wrote the most astonishing poetry to the quiet guy who said very little and then stunned me and the rest of the group with the raw, natural talent that was literally just bursting out of him to express itself in original photographic images.
Troy, Richard, Mike, Sam, Roli and Alex – I salute you all and thanks for sharing your weekend with me.
While I’ve been a professional photographer for over 20 years it always seems strange to me when I get asked for careers advice because I’ve only ever had one ambition in life – to be a photographer.
The fact that I earn a living from what I love is a privilege I try not to lose sight of but I’d do it even if I didn’t because it’s so much a part of what I am, who I am and what defines me.
I wasn’t very good at school.
I’m not the academic type.
I never assisted anyone and am totally self taught.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way.
I’ve learnt the hard way.
I’ve always liked to share the knowledge I’ve acquired so if you plan to go pro or have an interest in the working life of a photographer click on the images below for my double page Q&A Careers Advice in Digital Photographer
I get asked about how I shot this image more times than any other.
Fire is more usually captured at dusk but the fact that these flames were caught in high light against a deep blue sky is what makes this picture so arresting.
Click on it to reveal the story behind the still image as seen in Digital Photographer
I’m a little late with this post so blame it on being lazy or just being out of touch in Lapland.