If I’ve learnt anything in my career as a photographer, it’s to be versatile. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as looking through the lens at the perfect shot – whether in brogues at a wedding, or knee deep in mud on a rally stage.
Born into a family of photographers, I never wanted to be anything else; cameras were all over the house and, even as a young child, I was curious enough to pick one up and shoot a roll of film.
Through school and college, I acquired qualifications in the art, but my first job was less than glamorous. As a printer for Kodak, I found myself stuck in the back of Supasnaps in Feltham, merrily bashing out holiday snap after blurry, underexposed holiday snap. Even so, the job was not without rewards; you could see the excitement and anticipation on the faces of people in the queue as they waited for their prints.
Soon, however, I moved on to my first job as a photographer – at Thorpe Park – which proved to be excellent training. When you’re shooting, printing and selling in bulk, you have to make every picture a good one: blurred or badly exposed images will never sell.
The same was true of my winter job, as a cruise ship photographer on the magnificent ships operated by Princess and Norwegian Cruise lines. Here, we would use the very best equipment: Hasselblad, Leica and Nikon, yet we were still ‘wet’ processing. Ripping open film canisters in the darkroom, we would load them onto metal spirals, then into cages, and hand dip them through the chemicals – all in the pitch dark with nothing but a luminous clock for company.
By 1998, it was time to learn new skills – and when I was offered the position of photographer and deputy editor on a new monthly magazine, I snapped up the opportunity. The fact that the magazine was dedicated to Italian cars (another of my passions) seemed too good to be true.
Twelve years later, I’m still with Auto Italia magazine, but during those years I’ve also progressed to being group photographer at the publishing house. This gives me what I’ve always wanted – a huge variety of photographic work, using the latest techniques and equipment. Life has never been better.
Please take a look at my galleries. If you like what you see, do get in touch.
This is the home of Michael Ward Photos