My interests lie in travelling, in learning and doing, and above all in people – the people who live in the everyday places between what sometimes passes for news and the nonsense that is celebrity. I’m interested in where they live and work, what they do, why, and how all these pieces join up to shape their lives. That's what led me to become a photojournalist.
I’m looking for the positive, something which I think is often harder to show than the negative; bad news tends to have more arresting faces, which is perhaps why it often holds the media’s eye. But while subjects for serious journalism are to be found where controversy, crisis and conflict exist, controversy, crisis and conflict per se are not the stories – their causes and their solutions are where the real interest lies, because questions and answers are what inform and empower people. To focus on anything else is simply C21st ‘car crash’ journalism, a sterile pursuit that makes helpless spectators of us all.
I’d like to think, then, that these days my approach to my work is characterised by a quiet and almost transparent positivity; that in my features the only thing that comes between reader and subject are my imagination and my genuine interest in people, both of which I trust to mediate their stories in a way that makes them interesting to read; you can find some examples, and meet some of the local characters whom I've encountered on the Features pages.
'Course, I've had a lot of fun along the way, learning my trade:
After university, which was bookended by a couple of years living and working in the Middle East, I joined one of United Newspaper’s trade magazines as a trainee. That was nearly 25 years ago, since when I’ve worked as a journalist, either on or contributing to a range of titles in both the business and consumer sectors, and covering a variety of subjects, from adventure sports, motoring, motorcycling and travel to interior design, scuba diving, and popular science.
I have launched a few magazines: I was the launch editor for retro, for example (a car magazine that's now Future’s Classics) and also relaunched an outdoor and camping title along lifestyle lines in the days before technical fabrics became fashionable. Since 1996, however, I’ve been a freelance feature writer and photographer – a photojournalist in the sense that the images I take are intended to complement, and to be complemented by, the words that I write.
While I have been involved in longer-term projects – I was the launch editor of brass, for instance, a magazine conceived to tackle the London-centric view of the creative industries by highlighting businesses outside the capital – by and large I enjoy having the journeyman’s freedom to travel in search of stories. And by that, of course, I really mean in search of people.
I’ve also begun working with video, which allows me to bring stories to life by making the written word spoken, and give still images movement. It’s early days – for me, I mean, not video – but you can find an example of my work in the Photography pages.
I also enjoy travel for pleasure, motorcycling, skiing and scuba diving. I used to skydive until I discovered flying and ended up with a commercial licence and instructor's rating; my real interest, tho', was in biplanes, in which I learned to fly and later flew formation displays and Sunday afternoon aerobatics. That said, I'm as happy down in my workshop with either spanners or a woodworker’s tools.
I'm interested in people: where they live and work, what they do, why, and how all these pieces join up to shape their lives
Photo: R Foord Aviation Photography