Village life has always been a strong influence in my formative years having grown up in a market town of Hampshire, England. Surrounded by farming pastures, acreages of seasonal vegetable plots and coastal fishing ports nestled on the shorelines of the Solent, all contributed to the narrative that is still evident in my images today.
By 1978 I had immigrated to Sydney Australia with my family in the hope of continuing my studies at Art college. It seems Australia had other plans for me so I invested in my first camera – a Pentax K1000. A real workhorse of a camera giving me a new avenue to explore land and seascapes of which there was an abundance.
Largely self-taught, I plunged myself into photography reference books but the real lessons were out in the field under different skies and changing seasons. It wasn’t until 1989 that I took a leap of faith to hold my first exhibition. I had opened my own framing business in Sydney in 1987 and was persuaded by an artist I framed for to ‘get my work out there’. It was a small yet appreciative audience that applauded and bought my Kodak colour landscapes. But it was the vote of confidence I needed, marking the beginning of my journey as an exhibiting photographic artist.
Over the next decade or so, I entered my images in group shows and Art Prizes honing my skills in curating works for exhibition. In 2000 I decided to expand my skill base towards studying fine art silver gelatine printing, eventually setting up my own dark room to prepare for my next exhibition. Moving away from landscape to more urban street scenes, in 2006 I launched my first black and white photographic exhibition entitled ‘Landmarks 2041’. Capturing the historical landmarks of the harbourside village where I lived and worked, the iconic sandstone terraces, old pubs and shopfronts endeared its character to the honesty of black and white. The collection of nearly 50 silver gelatine prints were all shot on Ilford film.
Buoyed by the success of my village collections, I felt confident I had the makings of a photography book. To encompass all the character of this harbourside village actually meant I needed to shoot even more images to really ‘get under the skin’ of the communities, past and present. Gathering anecdotal stories and researching local history, I launched my first self published photography book in 2015 entitled ‘ A Village on the Harbour, Balmain’. A year later, ‘ A Village on the Harbour, Rozelle & Lilyfield’ followed though this time shot and edited digitally.
I now live along the tranquil coastline of Hampshire on the Isle of Wight. Returning to my love for landscape photography in 2016, I debuted my collection of ‘autochromatic’ land and seascapes at Quarr Abbey here on the Island in February 2020 entitled ‘Feels Like Home’.
As a wildlife photographer and naturalist living in a small coastal village of Cornwall in the UK I am fortunate that my combined passions of wildlife, photography and conservation can be met without straying too far from home. My home is an old cottage steeped in local history having once served as a tiny pub to the local workers building stone walls and laying tracks from the mines up on the moors. Adjacent to a river and surrounded by natural habitat of woodlands I find plenty of distractions with the varieties of birdlife, bats and insects that frequent my large rambling garden. The timber studio from which I work also serves as a hide complete with camouflage. Hence, my distraction!
Recent years when not travelling abroad have been spent saving our natural world; one bee, bug and butterfly at a time in my own cottage garden wilderness.
My work in the Health IT profession over the years has taken me to some incredible destinations such as Brazil, Brunei, Malaysia , Finland, Singapore & Italy. In 2004 I invested in a DSLR camera and more importantly, a zoom lens to capture the nature images I was drawn to. The images from my photography trips to Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Australia and the Galapagos Islands can be viewed on my website (www.senhp.com) these take pride of place in my portfolio along with images shot across the UK and my home county of Cornwall.
When I travel I carry the Nikon D850 and D500 plus the 70-200 and 100-500 lenses. However, with the advent of smartphones and the creative choices they offer many of my images are captured on my iPhone. It’s a lot of fun and allows for instant uploads for Facebook or Instagram posting whilst on location.
Having lived and worked in Australia for more than 35 years I moved back to England in 2003 for work; I found I had a bit more time to focus more on my surrounding woodlands and the wealth of wildlife it yielded. It wasn’t long before I sought more exotic subjects and ventured much further afield. My first Safari wildlife tour was to Rwanda in February 2008 then the Galapagos Islands in September of the same year. A selection of these images were featured in the national newspapers.
Kenya followed in March and August 2009. A magical place I always immerse myself into every time I return, it’s a place that captured my heart and mind after the first visit and I am forever drawn back there.
Now boasting a varied collection of African wildlife photographs I made my debut at ‘Artique Gallery’ in Windsor at the end of 2009 with my first solo exhibition. Running for a couple of months it gave me the confidence to seek similar venues. On the strength of my solo show I then went on to exhibit a variety of my wildlife images at the Eden Project through the summer of 2010 titled ‘Our World My View’ .
My hope is that with this new venture in our ever changing world I can bring to bear all of my previous experiences, passions and enthusiasm to showcase our world’s beauty to a wider audience.