For almost three decades most of my friends and acquaintances have known me as “The Finance Man”, the go-to person when they needed a loan for a house, a car, a business or an investment property. What most of them don’t know is that I became “The Finance Man” more by accident than by design.
My passion for photography goes back to my late teens – I remember clearly my first camera which was mostly a point and shoot Minolta with a fixed lens. I had never heard of an SLR camera but that didn’t stop me from setting up my own dark room for the processing of negatives and the printing of black and white photos. When I say “my own dark room” it was in fact my Mum’s laundry that I had converted into a dark room by painting all the windows black and sealing any gaps around the door.
As a teenager I went around taking photos of anyone who was willing to stand still for a couple of minutes – I had received no training so the photos were not great and it was more a question of hit and miss than art. But the most interesting part of the hobby was what happened in the dark room.
My equipment was very basic and all second hand, but I was fascinated by the magic of turning a film strip into a negative and then seeing the image slowly appear on paper as it developed. I felt in total control especially with the dodge and burn.
When I finished high school I landed a job as a Graphic Designer in a glamorous Advertising Agency and was able to further use my photography (limited) skills for some jobs. It was great fun for a couple of years working with Magazines, TV and swanky models but the money sucked. On top of that the boss was always short of a quid and we ended up parting company in a not very amicable way. I joined another Advertising Agency but the fun factor just wasn’t there as they were ultra conservative, so I didn’t last.
As fate would have it I joined a bank (certainly not for the fun factor!) but the money was much better and the prospects of promotion were promising. Being very dedicated to the job I quickly climbed up the corporate ladder and became a Financial Analyst working on business loans of all sizes. This lasted a few years and in 1983, I migrated to Australia. As I was having a fresh start my plan was to go back to graphic design and I applied for a few jobs. But having been out of the industry for a number of years and without a portfolio there was no hope. I needed the money so I went back to banking and landed a job as a Branch Manager. I was helping out a customer with a loan one day when he told me that I was wasting my time working for a bank and that I could be doing a lot better working for myself. I had never heard of Mortgage Broking but nevertheless I quit the bank and set myself up as Mortgage Broker – my only tools were a financial calculator, a mobile (car) phone, one of the very firsts in Australia and my enthusiasm of course.
To cut a long story short, the business grew to a multi-million dollar company over 28 years and last year I was made an offer to sell the business. It wasn’t an easy decision but after such a long time in the same career I felt it was time to move on and try something else. So on September 1, 2016 I started a new chapter in my life. Suddenly I was free from the shackles of a demanding business but retirement as such didn’t really appeal to me. It’s very hard to slow down when you’ve been running on steroids for decades.
As I had already gone back to my photography as a small hobby in the last couple of years, the choice became quite clear. I could go back to my early passion but things had changed considerably.
Photography is now all digital of course and complex software is an integral part of the process. So I enrolled in a photography course and earlier this year graduated from the Photography Institute in Sydney. I also joined the Camera Club in South Melbourne which has a fully equipped studio and I learn a lot from the very experienced photographers at the regular photo sessions.
I still very much enjoy the contact with people and whilst I love landscapes, old buildings and abstract photography, I tend to gravitate back to working with people whether it’s for a corporate headshot, a family portrait or a model portfolio shoot.
I am now dedicated to setting up a boutique studio to indulge in my passion and at the same time create some awesome images for my clients.
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