I studied physics at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, chosen in part because I had aspirations to be a climber and was attracted by easy access to the wild and high places in the mountains of Wales. Besides my studies there, I became the photo editor, then editor, of the university newspaper.
After completing my degree I combined work as a teacher of physics and mathematics with freelance photography in the UK, Middle East and New Zealand.
In the Middle East I was teaching the physics of flight to trainee pilots in Saudi Arabia, then I moved to Oman, where I taught trainee air traffic controllers. These jobs allowed me the luxury of generous spare time and long vacations to indulge my fascination with photography. The desert and the Gulf gave me the opportunity to explore wilderness and the underwater world. I participated in first ascents of rock climbs in the wadis and mountains of Oman, and became a British Sub-Aqua Club First Class Diver and Open Water Instructor.
I have wide experience in many aspects of photography, including editorial, studio, fashion, actor headshots, weddings, functions, corporate and hazardous location photography.
I was co-opted by National Geographic to film the interior of the Majlis al Djinn cave in Oman for a geology film they were producing for the Sultan. The camera crew were not keen on attempting the 180m free abseil into the cave – the only way in. And out!
Besides places, wild and tame, my other main interest is people; both in formal portraits and photographs of everyday life. I was lucky enough to have had many of the luminaries I admire most in science and the arts agree to sit for me: writers, such as John Betjeman, Kingsley Amis, Arthur C Clarke, Hunter S Thompson, J P Donleavy and Tom Robbins. Artists Henry Moore, Roland Penrose and Ralph Steadman. Visionaries including R Buckminster Fuller, Colin Wilson. And many more.
For several years I was official photographer for the Dundee Literary Festival, a bonus of which was the opportunity to make portraits of some of the most popular writers of the time, including Iain Banks, Colm Toibin, Alexander McCall Smith, Val McDermid and queen of romance and family saga, Rosamunde Pilcher.
My portrait project is ongoing, and will last a lifetime
Having been photographing for well over half a century, I have used many types of film camera, but more recently I have – not entirely reluctantly – entered the digital age, progressing through a series of Canon digital cameras which have become more expensive as they become more complicated, with learning curves I’m still climbing.