I'd always liked taking pictures since I was a kid but didn't get into photography properly until around 3 years ago. My primary motivation at the time was to shoot a self shot set for the website Suicide Girls because I was having trouble finding photographers in my area. I bought a Canon 450D from a second hand shop and began practising, this was also the same time that I discovered Mike Browne and I would watch his videos on Youtube pretty much every day to learn about exposure and composition etc.
I posted about my plans to do a self shot set on Suicide Girls and one of the other photographers pointed out that doing a self shot set was one of the hardest things to do. She suggested that I learn about photography and get to know my camera by shooting other people first.
It was terrifying and took me months to get the courage to put up a casting but I finally started working with models in 2014. The more I shot with people, the more I loved it but there was a looming issue I had hanging over my head. I'm disabled. I suffer from fibromyalgia as well as issues with my joints and I have what I affectionately refer to as a twisty skeleton. This can often make photography hard for me and I wasn't shooting as much as I'd have liked to due to feeling like I couldn't. I also felt like I was competing with able bodied people who were so much better than me and I would never be able to get to a good standard.
That attitude changed in June 2014 when my dad passed away. Seeing him laying in a hospital bed with a million wires attached to him really changed my perspective. He was literally dying but he still had a big beaming smile on his face and if I was walking with a limp or looked tired he was more concerned with how I was feeling. This made me realise that if he was able to see the good in things and not dwell on his situation then why can't I do the same.
I started shooting as much as physically possible doing portfolio shoots for models as well as shooting sets for the lovely ladies on Suicide Girls. I got involved in the body paint scene and am now a member of the UK body Paint project which is super fun and I've met loads to amazingly talented people. I started studying for my HND in photography at Southport College last year and recently started my second year. I am loving the course and it's opened up so many great opportunities including doing a bit of corporate work.
I still wouldn't call myself a pro, I've only done a few paid shoots and I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to make a career out of photography (especially with my physical limitations). To date I have now shot 30 sets for Suicide Girls and I've been enjoying doing shoots for other people so much that I still haven't done a self shot set.