So this morning I caught up with Paul Callaghan ahead of his workshop at PhotoHubs Coventry on the 15/16 November 2017, thank you, Paul, for taking the time to chat with me today, it’s not long now until PhotoHubs and I wondered can I ask you a few questions?
What got you into photography? …
It all started back about 28 years ago when I became unemployed as an electrician.
If you had not been a photographer what would you have done?
Wanted to be a drummer in a Rock Band something like 70’s Super Group “Cream” or “Jimi Hendrix” but without the drugs LOL, I wasn’t cut out for the Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll scene.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
To make sure to keep your promises ..your word is your bond.
Are you a full-time photographer?
If yes how many years?
28 years or thereabouts. When I started off there were two or three wedding photographers within a 20-mile radius of me. I was observing one photographer at a wedding I was at, back in the day ( Me thinking “That’s easy, I’ll have a go at that”… Little did I know, I’m still learning the tricks of the trade to keep up to date).
Some of the early years were very difficult. Our second child Aaron was diagnosed with Autism and went on to develop epilepsy so most of his childhood was spent in hospitals and seeing so-called specialists, while we’ve all been put through the wringer coming to terms with it .. all is good as it can be now and we can get on with life.
What is your style?
Ah, style is a term I was never a fan off… having an open mind – I didn’t want to be pigeonholed or characterised, I just see myself as a good run of the mill wedding photographer just like any other tradesperson, but to answer your question; some of my peers described my style as Surreal, suspended halfway between fantasy and the waking world.
What do you shoot?
Why this subject?
First of all, I did not need a Studio so this was one expense I didn’t have to worry about starting off on a shoestring budget and there were no wedding photographers in my area at the time!
Have you photographed anyone famous?
Nobody worth talking about really, well a few but they would not be household names in the UK!
Worst photographic experience?
F**k .. how far do you want me to go back, have you got all day …
Best photographic experience?
Apart from staying in business this long. I would say becoming the first wedding photographer in the South of Ireland doing two separate Fellowships in Weddings back in 2009 with the BIPP and later with the MPA, this was after the end of the joint qualifications board with both associations.
There was also a lapse of some seven or eight years since the last Wedding Fellowship from the BIPP was given out, that was to Scottish photographer Gordon McGowan, Gordon’s work was at the time and still is influential to this very day, indeed Gordon was one of a long list of mentors and trainers I attended over the years, for which I can never thank them all enough
Canon or Nikon?
I’m a Nikon guy
Basically when I went from shooting Medium format film to Digital, I never shot 35mm at a wedding by the way .. My First Digital Camera was a Fuji S1, it had Nikon mounts on it so having Nikon lens , it was just a transition , if they had Canon mounts , I’d be shooting Canon today.
Advice for someone starting out?
Think of your work as Art, master your craft and improve your ability with time and practice.
Top 3 tips you would give someone starting out?…
- Photographic & Business education is the key to this profession.
- Use whatever equipment you have to the best of your / it’s ability and know your limitations and that of your equipment.
- Master One or Two subjects. DON’T start off a business by stating something like I see far too often. “I Specialise In” Landscape Photography, Baby Photography, Commercial Photography, Wedding Photography and so on.
If you had to move to a desert island what 5 items would you take with you?.
A bottle of Irish Whiskey. 2. Some Solar Panels .3 A Radio of some sort. 4 An Axe. 5. A Dog.