My working life started at the age of 17 as I stepped into the world of live events. I was a casual technician at Derby Assembly Rooms whilst also studying sound engineering at college. Being a technician in such a big venue came with TONS of on-the-job training! From lighting to AV equipment as well as sound. Little did I know back then how much some of this knowledge would help me with future endeavours.
One of my favourite jobs during this time was being the followspot operator - working the spotlight during live shows. I was fortunate enough to work with some fantastic acts at Derby Assembly Rooms during my 10 year stint as a tech;
I had Harry Hill sing Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' to me during soundcheck.
Neil Morrisey lectured me (tongue in cheek) for not wearing a coat in winter!
Derren Brown gave me a bottle of champagne.
I sat with Ken Dodd in his dressing room, just chatting about the world.
I went for a post-show curry with a former Doctor Who; Sylvester McCoy.
I spent an evening personally looking after a Bond girl; Honor Blackman.
And I got to meet my childhood heroes - The Chuckle Brothers!
There's too many others to mention, but these are definitely some of my favourites.
At the age of 18, I decided to try some freelance work too. This involved a lot of travelling, working at stadiums and arenas around the UK. I worked with some even bigger acts during this time, including Take That, Madonna, Bon Jovi and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It was an amazing experience, one that I'll never forget.
My time as a freelancer came to a premature end, it simply wasn't family friendly anymore. I found myself "job hopping" for the next 13 years, trying to find my niche again. But it was a chance to learn new skills and discover new talents.
I discovered how high my customer service standards are. I also discovered how much I enjoyed working in the property industry and getting to nose around lots of different homes! But nothing quite ticked all the boxes for me like it did before.
I needed a way to combine my interests with my passion for creativity and my enthusiasm for technology. I was convinced that this was the only way I could find true job satisfaction again.
They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (ironic coming from someone with an Apple tattoo...). That's when I had a lightbulb moment; I'm the third generation of keen photographers. Maybe this could be my niche?
I invested my time and my resources into perfecting this craft that I had always enjoyed. My aim; to master it at a more professional level.
The result? I loved it. It ticked all the right boxes. And I could hide comfortably behind the lens. It was very reminiscent of being a followspot operator.
I gained some local interest from potential clients, I used my insight into the property industry and set myself up as a sole trader. This is where MiniAperture Photography was born. 1st December 2019.
Fast forward 13 months into the future. 15th January 2021.
In this time, my work has gone from strength to strength. The feedback from clients has been excellent. I've helped independent businesses and I've even gained a little support from prestigious investment company; Marketing Derby. Little did I know what this would ultimately lead to.
Before I know it, I find myself thrown into the whirlwind of their Rising Star award, following in the footsteps of previous winners (one of whom also found success on Dragons Den). They've chosen me as one of their "Highly Commended" new businesses and part of their "Rising Star Galaxy"! It goes without saying that this comes with some amazing PR but also involves a little public speaking. This most definitely takes me out of my comfort zone... but maybe that's not such a bad thing after all?
It's good to push the boundaries sometimes and go beyond what's comfortable. You never know what you might find or the greatness it could bring.
I'm the sort of person who never wins anything, never asks for help and likes to stay out of the limelight and behind the scenes. I'm completely bewildered about my little win, but so immensely grateful too.
Historically, I've always been the one operating the spotlight and never on the stage. Until now.
Who knows where my next 12 months as a winner and a Bondholder will take MiniAperture..?! So to quote my favourite Pixar film, "Up!":