I spent my early years as a kid growing up in a town called Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, many know it as Elstree where the famous film studios are located and so a lot of my childhood was spent around the studios and the people that worked there. My education was a disaster, up until my comprehensive years I loved school but, when I got to the final (Comprehensive) school at the age of 13 I knew immediately things would not work out. My aim was to get qualifications to join the RAF as I was crazy about aviation, alas, the state deemed that I was too thick to even be considered for it and so I rebelled. I made life for my parents and for the school a living hell and did my myself no favours either, but, that was then. However I did associate with a lot of older people and so I learned all I needed to from them by talking, asking questions and making a lot of friends along the way, thick I may have been, stupid I was not.
At the age of 16 my parents bought me my first real camera, a Praktika B200 electronic, for its day it was as new as can be and even being a film camera it had functions way advanced compared to a lot other known brands already on the market, and so it started. I took shots, people loved what they saw and the amount of people that over the years told me I should make it a profession, but I never listened, my aim was to try to build a life from nothing, that meant hard hard work, lots of it and so that is what I did, the photography never really took off apart from outings or trips, family occasions etc. At the age of 20 I met my wife, we fell in love had our first child and got married a year later in Dudley where I live now. We got a small flat in my home town Borehamwood for the first 3 years but my wife could not get used to the London way of life and so in 1990 we moved the Dudley. We got our own house and from there we got on with things, me at work, Trace at home bringing up the kids… The years passed, the kids and us got older, the bills got bigger and so I had to move from doing management work onto a trade I had always wanted to do, truck driving. I got my licence to drive LGV (Laden Goods Vehicles) and started work for the company I still work for now. The pay was good and over time we were able to put all the debts behind us and start to enjoy life… and then in 2005 I made the discovery that would change our lives forever.. GREECE!!!
An ex friend of mine had a house in Oreokastro, Thessaloniki. We had been good friends for over 20 years and so he invited us all to stay at his home for our first trip. This we did, and as soon as I got off the plane at Thessaloniki I had a feeling hit me, as if I belonged, and yet I had never been here before. A lot of things happened on that trip, some good, a lot of bad, our friendship became strained but it all went OK, we returned to the UK having been invited to go out again as and when we wanted to stay again. I came back in the September of the same year, it was then I was taken to Agios Pavlos, Chalkidiki, my friend had built a small cottage, eventually it would be at this cottage that our friendship came to a bad end. A couple of years went by, my friend and I fell out, it was finished, another long and nasty story on that one but it is in the past now, I had however found Nea Kallikratia, Chalkidiki thanks to another friend who helped us, and I fell in love with the town. It was here in 2007 that with a small pocket compact camera I took a shot that would also change my life again… One photo, on a €40 compact told me I needed to invest in a better camera, this I did, the following year we came back to Kallikratia, I took hundreds of photos, not just of the town, but the whole region, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Chalkidiki etc, meeting new people along the way as well as finding some incredible places that many, including some of the locals did not even know existed, that was it, my life now had meaning… to come, to photograph and to show the world what Greece has to offer apart from the bits they already know about. I have met some incredible people on my journey, been introduced to some incredible places, watched in awe at some sunsets that I know just cannot be found anywhere else on this planet and also witnessed a country collapse from the inside out due to the austerity. I have consoled and helped a lot of people by telling them how things are outside Greece, assured them that the world does not blame the Greek people for the problems it is having. It has broken my heart to listen to people’s stories of there lives and I knew something had to be done, but, what could I do?? The only thing I know how, take pictures, not hundreds, no! Thousands, publish them, make sure that every bloody one has a story, and map them, put them on Google Earth, let people see where I have been, let them see the shots I got and then let them come and see for themselves what I had the privilege to witness, and it is working. I helped to put Nea Kallikratia on the world map, up until I started posting images there were none, but now, there are hundreds, not from me but from many, many others that saw my images and did what I hope they would, they came, they saw they photographed it. My God, I have people approach me now when I am in Greece asking if I am the “Google Guy” hahahaha, while in Aridaia last year for the first time while walking with a friend an old guy came to me, looked and then started shouting, I was a little worried but my friend started to laugh, I asked “what the hell is going on?” she told me it was OK, he had seen my picture on the internet and my images, now he was happy he knew Aridaia will be OK because he knows I will take pictures of the town and post them on Google Earth as well as Facebook, Twitter etc…. I now have my images posted across the globe, Visit Greece love my work and endorse it as and when I post anything as well as a lot of other well known web sites, one company now sponsors me and helps to fund trips to Greece and other places now and they let me decide where and what I photograph as they have complete faith in me and my abilities. So, I am by no means an expert, but, I have spent many years now perfecting and improving what I do and the results speak for themselves, I let the multiple awards I have gained do that. I am now being approached by more companies that like what they see as well as individuals. My passion though is for Greece, it has helped to open so many doors and introduce me to a world I never knew existed and my aim is to promote and educate others by way of imagery just what Greece has to offer, my quest will never end, even if I had nothing I would do whatever I can to get the word out, to show people around the world that Greece is not so far away from any of us, it is just up to us as people to choose to bite the bullet and make the best decision we ever made, and that is to book the flights and go to GREECE!!!!! I know for a fact they, like me will get bitten, they will also fall in love with a country that deserves so much more from the international community and it may not happen in my lifetime but, I yearn to see the day that Greece makes its comeback while all those around it who doubted and passed scorn themselves squander in there own downfall…
Then and only then will I be able to sit back and proudly say.. Job Done!!!!