I was born in 1967 in West Belfast 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 because that was the norm for me and others to witness and experience living here I guess I became desensitized to what I was witnessing and experiencing and we just got on with it..
In 1982 I remember going up onto the Falls Road to photograph the political parades (see photo) I had a wee point and shoot Halina 35mm film camera and when I raised that camera to my eye something inside me made me feel that I was embarking on something special. I felt ‘special’ I felt ‘different’ from others around me there I think I felt the Photography buzz rise within me. little did I know how my life would change as a result.
I talk about this amongst other things in the video at the bottom of the page where I take part in an interview with my fiancee Sheena Bleakney where we discuss my life in Photography, the past, present, and future.
In 1986 I joined the newly formed Belfast Exposed community photography group and it was with Belfast Exposed (BX) thanks to them lending me a 35mm SLR camera and supplying free film I got a great foundation on photography with thanks from the lessons I got from other members of the group. I also got a job with BX as a darkroom Tech and also a photography workshop facilitator so I really do credit with BX for giving me a start in 35mm Photography 37 years ago.
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 among many others. 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. My other solo exhibition titled The Way I see it was a selection of images created between 1986 – 2021 reflecting Belfast and beyond. I owe so much to those that inspired me to see more and photograph more, to help me create those bodies of work.
Over the years I have accumulated a photographic archive of over eight thousand images in my collection dating from 1986 -2023, 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 seven 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 videos on photography-related topics and I have gained a large international following on my social media platforms, and 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 the 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.