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Showing posts from April, 2020

Making myself useful - LOCKDOWN Week 5

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Being a doley loser is finally beginning to take its toll on me. Almost everybody I know is still gainfully employed in some capacity - either working from home on full pay, or furloughed on 80% of pay with nothing to do except drink alcohol, enjoy unlimited snacks, and enjoy box-set binges on some streaming service while saving thousands due to not having to spend money elsewhere. Admittedly, it's a microscopic section of the population, but it brings my personal situation into sharp focus during the time I'd normally be out there, seven days a week - filling up the coffers for the financial drought I always face between November and March each year. There has now been zero income since the end of February, and I'm expecting this to continue realistically into the late summer period given the inevitable physical distancing measures that will be enforced upon the easing of restrictions in the future. As a family of four, we're currently surviving on a single teaching-a

Easter is over - LOCKDOWN Week 4

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And....yet another week passes in isolation. I took a quick selfie to mark the occasion: The easter holiday fortnight was a breeze due to the absence of the home-education requirements, but now it's back to the process of trying to prevent the premature atrophy of two children's brains by maintaining a degree of routine in-between their sole objectives of watching some grown man screaming at kid's video games, and the actual participation in the aforementioned video games. Kids of all ages (except those ones with middle class parents who have loads of books that they'll never read in an attempt to make themselves appear morally superior to the rest of us) are entirely immersed in this stuff - basically some American bloke in their late 20's or early 30's playing Fortnite/Minecraft/Roblox like a 12 year old, and shouting all the way through it. It's the equivalent of some fat old Charva woman screaming through an episode of Coronation Street for the b

How I got here.....Chapter 7: What Next?

Looking back over, and publicly documenting the previous six chapters of my life has been interesting, cathartic, and often mind-blowing from a personal point of view. I generally don’t blow my own trumpet, but the journey to this point has been absolutely jam-packed with numerous adventures, pure joy, periods of despair, huge hurdles, massive life changes, great achievements, great disappointments, big losses, and laughs galore. It’s only been boring in places, and finds itself here in uncertainty. Most people that I know have followed a well-trodden path – leave school, maybe gain some graduate qualification, choose a vocation, or find an arbitrary  job that pays the bills, meet someone and get married, put on significant weight which will never be eliminated, buy a house on a new-build estate with a manageable mortgage, go on a two week holiday once a year, have a couple of children, put some savings away, watch the kids leave home, plan to retire a few years after the mortgage

How I got here....Chapter 6: Adapting to Change

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Finding myself back to square one, with no income, thousands of pounds worth of annual overheads, & a ton of unaccommodated equipment wasn’t where I imagined myself at the grand old age of fifty. Starting from scratch this time was a definite uphill struggle, although there was no need to buy or replace thousands of pounds worth of specialist equipment again thankfully. First task was to safely store the contents of the old studio in a dry, secure environment – Safestore in Wallsend on this occasion. I had a temporary boost to the depleted coffers in the early winter of 2014, with an unexpected couple of months shooting at the in-house Barbour studio near to their Head Office in South Shields. The machinery of large organisations never runs smoothly, and this had delayed the recruitment of the necessary staff, and the acquisition of the necessary equipment required to get the operation up and running in time to shoot the AW15 range of clothing. All my stuff was transpor

How I got here.....Chapter 5: The Studio Years.

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On the 1st May 2011, I took possession of a lease on a small, 400 sq. ft industrial unit in a converted clothing factory – aptly named The Clothworks. It was a spartan space, devoid of personality, character, windows or temperature control. Summer temperatures quickly reached 35 degrees due to the sun radiating straight through the bare corrugated steel roof, and in the winter months, they plummeted to almost-zero causing the water in the kettle to start freezing overnight at one point. I quickly realised that this environment wasn’t ideal to store thousands of pounds worth of camera equipment & expensive computers, but had to battle on regardless. My main Mac computer suffered from condensation forming on the inside of the screen, which never really went away through the winter months. To try and combat the cold and damp, I bought several heaters, including a small industrial model which was on 24/7, but had to cut it off when I discovered it had melted the wall socket. My fir

How I got here.....Chapter 4: Turning Pro.

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College life went past in a heartbeat, and before I knew it, I was back on the street trying to carve a niche in the world of the pro – a world I’d found to be uncompromising, and full of total egotistical wankers that loved themselves. During my time as a mature student I’d worked with some professionals, and been to workshops and talks hosted by several others. I suppose every profession has a wide ranging gamut of personalities in it’s ranks, but I’ve never known an industry populated by so many people who are full of shite. People who would (and did) make it their business to prevent others from getting on in the industry, and would put themselves on some pedestal created in the 1980’s. One such egotistical wanker actually went out on a limb to prevent me getting jobs with a creative agency by ringing them and threatening to report them to some non existent body for using me while I was a student. I used to respect the person in question, and assisted them on occasion. I look a

How I got here....Chapter 3: The Life Change.

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So….I was approaching 40 fast, my “career” in retail finance had been destroyed, my interest in photography was crushed, as was my creative side. My working life was punctuated by depressing exchanges with desperately indebted individuals intent on getting money from the company I worked for at any cost, and my lack of interest in any of it became more and more noticeable to my enthusiastic American employers. (How the hell do you remain enthusiastic about depriving the poorest in society of anything they earn by charging 3124% APR on a Payday Loan, or knocking on doors in Newcastle’s West End to try and recover £500 off some bloke who has “Fuck The Police” tattooed on his lips?). Needless to say, the job I’d had for ten years or so came to an abrupt end when I was summoned to the HQ in Nottingham and promptly demoted because I was shite. I could have swallowed the decision, and continued to exist in a working life devoid of any joy, but just couldn’t stand it any longer. I resigne