Mid eighties, not a whisper from the imminent Celtic tiger and Ireland in deep recession, I like many, packed my bags and took the ferry. With suitcase and a basic education under my belt, I was ready for a new world and challenge. In London, I spent five years working in the retail side of the photographic industry. Back then in the late 80s, to the smooth sounds of Sade, London was buzzing and accelerating into the 90s. Businesses booming into a new decade, with people acquiring once unheard of mortgages and vastly investing into their new found properties.
I embarked on showing my collection of black and white photographs of Greenwich, London and Ireland through a stall at Greenwich Market. So many entrepreneurial and creative spirited individuals under one roof at the cobble studded Art & Craft market in the heart of Greenwich along the bank of the Thames in London. Such an array of characters with Alex our market manager giving me a massive break in allowing me set up at the market that wet November Sunday back then. I was totally naive to showing and selling my work but absolutely loved the vibe, people and atmosphere. London boomed into the 90s and Hestlethine’s Thames gateway began to take shape with the construction of Canary Wharf from the embers of the old east London dockside warehouses.
Every weekend, people thronged into Greenwich and the market pulsated. In 1996, the opportunity arrived to open a photography gallery in Greenwich Market. Without market strategy or research, I just started showing and exhibiting in the gallery what was in my world and what I loved about the world. Technicalities mean little to me and I am more guided by the feeling and intuition of light and where it may spring up or rest rather than the format of a camera or ability of software. So, in my pictures, I try to convey the place and a timelessness which fortunately many people have related too and enjoy.
Greenwich has such beautiful light especially in the mornings with the sun rising east downriver. Historical architecture and ancient parks wrapped around in such inspiring light, t’is no wonder Turner paid many a visit to Greenwich. Add in, the interaction of people going about their daily lives strolling with dogs through Royal Greenwich Park or a visage of school children visiting the National Maritime Museum. simply a beautiful spectacle and place. Come the new millennium. Up sprang the London Eye and The Millennium Dome and meanwhile Canary Wharf and The City of London skylines rose upwards. Also building up were my portfolios of work, I had also added a colour London portfolio.
My travels had taken me to many of Europe’s destinations, across the USA and also into Russia. I visited Cuba and travelled by train, bus and rickshaw around India all the while chronicling with my camera what I saw and encountered. I managed a very brief visit to Australia and spent a month in New Zealand and visited Milford Sound, one of the most spectacular landscape locations, regarded by many as the eighth wonder of the world.
Black and white photography whilst a good medium for landscape and architecture was also hugely popular amongst my wedding clientele and just had that edge capturing spontaneous and precious moments. Photographing people and portraiture can be an art in itself and we all have our own approach. I think communication comes first and foremost. It can be a gentle, patient process or alternatively very quick. When I am allowed the privilege of photographing someone, it is always with their consent, and I enjoy the communique, trust and bond that build up in the process.