My love of film began at an early age. Growing up in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, I spent most of my childhood wandering around in the fields near my house taking photographs, making up stories and watching black and white films on TV on Saturday afternoons.
This informal education quickly developed into a passion for writing and telling powerful stories through the language of cinema. At the age of thirteen I directed my first short, and from that moment, I was hooked.
After studying English Literature at the University of St Andrews, I moved to London and worked for Windfall Films, an award-winning, independent documentary company. In 2009 I moved to the offices of Spanner Films, the company behind the climate change documentary The Age of Stupid, where I ran and helped to develop Indie Screenings – a new and alternative method of independent distribution for feature films.
Throughout this time I’d continued to shoot my own short films and, wanting to learn more about the art and craft of cinematography, decided to apply to the National Film and Television School.
Learning from the likes of Brian Tufano BSC, Stuart Harris, Billy Williams BSC, Sue Gibson BSC, Sean Bobbitt BSC, Roger Chapman, Alex Ryle and Jonathan Harvey expanded my knowledge and understanding of the craft and gave me an opportunity to work in a variety of styles, shooting on both film and digital formats.
Since graduating in March 2012, I have worked in a variety of environments – shooting commercials, short films and music promos. My first feature Hide & Seek won the Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2014 and my second feature Hinterland opened in UK Cinemas in February 2015.
The best cinematography is not about showing off. It can be dark and gritty. It can be rich, sumptuous and ‘painted with light’ or it can be simple, classical and naturalistic. It is not necessarily about flashy visuals or the most expensive cameras. It is about understanding the story that has to be told and trying to figure out the best, and most appropriate, way to complement that story. If you can do that, then every film will have its own inherent sense of truth and beauty.
For me filmmaking is an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. I love working closely with a director, and with the other heads of department, bouncing ideas back and forth, solving problems, bringing my own personal experiences, and my own way of seeing the world, to the work that I do.