I was born in 1967 in West Belfast which is in the North of Ireland, and I first began taking photos in the early 1980s using my sister’s point and shoot 110 film camera.
Belfast in those days was sadly still in the grip of bombings and shootings, but that was normal for me to witness as a teenager.I guess I, just like the rest of us, were desensitized to what we were witnessing and experiencing.
I remember going up onto the Falls Road to photograph the political parades in my native West Belfast (see photo) with a wee point and shoot camera and photographing an IRA colour party. Even then, with that wee camera, I felt ‘special’ ‘different’ I felt the Photography buzz rise within me. Even at 15yrs of age something inside me made me feel that I was embarking on something special when I raised that camera to my eye.
I talk about this amongst other things in the video at the end of this piece, when I take part in an interview with my fiancee Sheena Bleakney where we discuss my life in Photography, the past, present and future.
Learning how to use a 35mm SLR camera in 1986 with the newly formed Belfast Exposed Community Photography Group was a major change in my photography. Belfast Exposed was a community photography group newly founded by Sean McKernan and Danny Burke and it changed my life. They supplied me with a 35mm SLR camera and film, and Sean and Danny amongst others I met in the group taught me the basics of photography and also printing and developing my films and prints in the darkroom.
My photography mainly encompasses the genres of Street Photography, Social Documentary and Press Photography but I can get just as lost in the moment at photographing a flower in bloom.
Learning the ropes from photographers I met through Belfast Exposed, I also learned from observing the images of local Belfast photographers such as Street photographer Vinty Dargan, Buzz Logan and Press Photographer Brendan Murphy (past picture editor of Irish News) to name but a few.
I was, and I am still greatly Influenced by photographers such as Robert Doisneau, Bert Hardy and Don Mc Cullin to name a few. My photographic exhibition titled Fancy a Dander depicts in gritty black and white, the humour, geniality and rawness of a working-class community whose sense of humanity prevails through troubled times and I owe so much to those that inspired me, to help me create this body of work.
Over the years I have accumulated a photographic archive of over eight thousand images in my collection dating from 1986 -2020, and you can view some of my collection here.
Photography is my passion, but helping others get the best from their photography is also a passion, and I have taught photography to over 700 hundred participants from a wide section of the community through my numerous workshops as well as private one to one tutorials across Ireland and the UK. I contribute to my YouTube channel Rambles with My Camera where I share weekly videos on photography-related topics and I have gained a large international following on my social media platforms, who I am so grateful for them taking time out to watch my videos and to look at my photography.
Although the majority of my images online encompass Street and Social Documentary photography, I do not call myself a Street Photographer (unless I’m explaining to a member of public why I have just photographed them) I prefer to be known as a photographer, as my photography encompasses many genres of photography, and I don’t want to be put into a box/category.
If there are any images on this website that you would like to purchase that are not listed in the shop, or if you would like to use any images or have any further queries please contact me here and thank you for taking time out to read this.
The video below is taken from my YouTube Channel Rambles With My Camera and in this video interview with Sheena Bleakney, I talk about how I got into photography and share stories and my photos when I talk about my past and present photography journey and my future plans and dreams.