BIOGRAPHY

Born - England. Early childhood - rural Sussex. Expressed an interest in photography when quite young. (Birds). Left school at fifteen with no qualifications. Moved to London aged sixteen - was a bicycle messenger for a film company. I still remember every alley and shortcut in the West End through which one can - or could - manoeuvre a bicycle. Soho was then an energetic, cosmopolitan village and I grifted along on my salary of four pounds ten shillings a week. I was elevated to cutting room trainee but was fired after 18 months. Aimless, my father gave me a camera and I began shooting pictures of what I saw around me, London - 1967 onwards. I taught myself darkroom technique and adopted a simple, reportage style of shooting. I found myself photographing John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, Francoise Hardy, Jimi Hendrix, Jean-Luc Godard and in bed – literally – with Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg. It was a different world, virtually no security, everyone was friendly and compliant. I developed an interesting, eclectic portfolio of pictures – the famous and the anonymous – which evolved into a small but comprehensive view of late sixties London.

I spent a good part of the next decade in America. In my mid twenties, I started making documentaries. (Randy Newman, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, WNEW FM New York.) I produced four or five films with the BBC and Public TV in Boston. Back then, an idea, a subject and a friendly connection at a network could get you into production. With nothing to do one winter in a snowy New York City, I attempted writing a screenplay which miraculously, for a first attempt, was picked up and catapulted me into the world of screenwriting and TV drama. I lived and worked in Los Angeles for a while and wrote steadily for about fifteen years. For a while, I didn´t use the camera but came to miss it and have subsequently returned to picture taking. The results are immediate - the film world has become more and more of an endurance test.

I still have and use my 1968 Nikon F. But like most of us, I have been seduced into the digital era although I find that by using my old lenses and shooting in black and white, I can still attain the look I started out with. For me black and white enhances emotion, colours diminishes it. People and faces are my preferred subject – as they always were.

Photograph copyright Andrew Maclear

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