Welcome to my photographic world
I was born in Hull during September 1956...then at the age of 4 moved to the Scarborough area and hung around until March 1981, which is when I met Lynne...I now had direction in my life.
It was because of a road trip to Greece that I became interested in Photography, confused?.... let me explain.
We had bought a Bedford van in South london, converted it to sleep in, and were about to embark on said epic journey, when I realised that we didn't have a camera. At this time I knew nothing about photography so I nipped into Boots for the cheapest camera I could find, this turned out to be a 'Boots own' plastic 110 type. O.K.... now you're ahead of me.... that's right, we saw some incredible sights and were involved in many 'capers' travelling through Holland,Germany,Austria, Hungary,Yugoslavia and Greece, which I recorded for posterity... and yes you've guessed it, the pictures were either rubbish or non existent!
On our eventual return to the U.K. one of my first priorities, after fish & chips of course, was to buy and learn how to use a 'proper' camera. I stopped off at Camden Town and bought a second hand Praktica MTL5, two lenses: a standard 50mm and a 200mm, and a 'how to do it' book.
After a while I realised I was hooked but didn't know if my pictures were really any good, so I joined a Camera club to learn from more experienced people and to have my work analyzed. I enjoyed this experience and the other members helped me a lot, the only thing I found frustrating, was that my adventurous approach was often at the edge of their uniform or standardised boundaries.
I decided to join photography night school at the local college. This opened up many more creative avenues for me, I persevered and went on to complete (for the first time in my life) 5 city & guilds in a variety of disciplines... one of which was Documentary. The tutor (Adrian Gatie) got me all 'fired up' when he 'introduced' me to the likes of Cartier Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Walker Evans and the list goes on....
My working life now had to change, I was going to be a professional Photographer. Because I had badgered just about everybody involved in the industry at some time or other, I was quite well known locally as a very keen enthusiast. It wasn't long before the local newspaper started using me on a freelance basis and the council commissioned me to provide images for the tourist guide, an assortment of small businesses such as hotels or manufacturing companies also needed images for their respective brochures.
My main 'break' ( I believe you make your own! ) was when I became friends with the owner of the 'Victorian Image' in Whitby, he subsequently asked me to work freelance for him recreating portraits of people in period costume, and to cut a long story short, Lynne and I eventually bought him out, and we are still running the studio together after 10 years of owning it.
I hope this story is inspirational to would be professional photographers out there, but please don't have any false illusions, it is extremely hard work and there are no shortcuts when it comes to experience.
Paul Anthony Wilson.