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Hi, my name is Michael and I am a photographer.

The first camera I picked up was an old (even back in 1989) Olympus OM10 film camera with a 50mm f/1.8 lens but my journey towards becoming a photographer starts way before then. As a child, spending hours a day drawing and looking at my mothers drawing books. During this time I learnt to love the visual image, which only grew from watching films like Star Wars and Time bandits. My first for foray into photography was short and not too sweet, I worked for a short time at a camera shop but it didn’t work out and I didn’t touch a camera for 11 years. I went to collage and gained a qualification in caring and then worked with mentally handicapped adults for several years. At the back of my mind though, I still had my love for the visual image and I would go to the cinema 2-3 times a week to watch various films.

In 1997 I went back to collage to do my qualifications in film making and after that I went and did my degree. Gaining a BA (Hons) in Film, with Media and Video Production in 2001. Now came the hard part, finding a job in the TV or film industry. Whilst at college I was generally the cameraman on most of the productions we did, so when I left university, I thought that I could become a professional cameraman.. 5 years later, I sort of succeeded. I started working for a small TV station called Passion TV, mainly working as a cameraman, shooting news, documentaries and a few educational programmes. After leaving Passion, I became a freelance cameraman working on various productions from fitness videos to live comedy performance.

Whilst I was looking for work in TV, I had the bright idea of buying a SLR camera, to keep my visual eye in. This turned out to be an inspired decision and one that would effect my life, far more than I would ever think possible. I would often be out with my camera taking photos. Camera in hand I started taking photos, lots of photos and eventually I had a crazy idea that one day I could become a photographer. Of course this was still years away but I started to take my photography seriously. I bought a Nikon D70s, my first digital SLR camera and upgraded a few of my lenses, then bought some flashes. At the time everyone was saying how wonderful my work was but I knew I would have a long way to go before reaching the levels of a good professional photographer. I spent years, honing my skills, learning about light, read books, attended seminars and practising.

By 2009, I was seriously considering just becoming a photographer, I wasn’t in the right location it felt to be a cameraman and my passion for photography had completely taken over. The next few years should have been my coming out party, unfortunately life stepped in. In December 2010, my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer and I stepped up to support her. My mother is probably the biggest influence on my life. She had always wanted to be a professional artist and that was where the love of visual image came. Cancer is cruel but my mum was a fighter, over the next 7 years, she fought different cancers. First was the bowel cancer, then just months later, after an operation to remove part of her bowel, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, again another operation, followed by cancer in the other breast and another mastectomy. Finally on December 4th 2017 she passed away, over that previous year her health had gone down hill seriously, she first got a brain tumour, then a blood clot, following that she had a mini-stroke and was then diagnosed with secondary brain cancer. Over that 7 year period I helped out as much as possible becoming her carer, during the bad times. By 2016 the different cancers had taken their toll and I became a full time carer.

Before 2016, whilst I couldn’t work full time, I did manage some work, doing corporate headshots, documentary and promotional and photography for various companies when I could, as well as doing some private work. When I wasn’t working I also did film extra work and worked on various films from Muppets Most Wanted, to Fury, finally to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.

Since my mothers passing, I have been rebuilding my business, pretty much from scratch. I did my LSWPP qualifications and am now looking to do my qualifications with The Master Photographers Association. I regularly network with 4Networking and have learnt a huge amount about running a small business.

Away from photography, I am most commonly seen walking my dog Reggie. He has pretty much taken over my life and without my mum being there, I have become a bit of a soft touch with him and he get spoiled rather a lot.

Although I am dyslexic, I do enjoy reading. I have a book shelf full of photography books, as well a books on science fiction and fantasy.

I enjoy swimming and had been thinking of trying triathlon but an arm injury has stopped that for now, though I hope to get back to doing more exercise in 2019.

I still enjoy cinema and have a wall shelf full of DVD’s and Blu rays.

Michael Laing