As my designs are inspired from my original photographs, it seemed only fitting for my latest creative blog post to feature an interview with a professional photographer....my Dad!
I have certainly caught the bug where neither of us are without our cameras (aka our phones now) and both are an utter nightmare to go on a walk with, stopping every few metres to capture another view or close up shot...
My name is Julian Grant and I am a retired UK and Export Sales and Marketing Manager with a Mechanical Engineering background. I have traveled to many countries around the world during my working life which started in Cornwall and took me to most countries in Europe, as well as Israel, Iran, Egypt, the Middle East and Russia. All this travelling gave me the opportunity to see many different cultures and people in their own surroundings and I still have many friends from these very interesting places. I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters.
For the past 10 years I have been a Wedding and Events Photographer, capturing those very special moments from the bride getting ready to the first dance and everything in between, and travelling as far afield as Inverness, London and several weddings in Cornwall as well as more local in Worcestershire.
What was your earliest photography memory?
When I was about eleven my parents took all the family to Butlin’s holiday camp in Minehead, Somerset, where I remember taking some very formal family pictures with my first Kodak camera. The “Instamatic” model was an inexpensive, easy-to-load camera using a cassette film and I still have some of those very first prints in our family album.
What is the favourite thing about being a photographer?
Over the years since then, I have had several different still, movie and video cameras, however it was not until digital imagery arrived that brought together my love for photography and my interest in the new computer technology. Then I really did start to enjoy capturing images of people and manipulating them in a creative way.
As a member of the Vale of Evesham Camera Club I started to develop a style of photography combining several layers to create a single image to tell a bigger story.
During these years I achieved an LRPS with the Royal Photographic Society and BPE3 Crown Award along with several other awards and prizes which I am very proud of.
Performing at weddings and events has also allowed me to work alongside my wife and daughters which has been great fun and rewarding in its own right. (ahh thanks Dad!).
Are there any other photographers whose work you admire or that inspires you?
I have never followed other photographers as it is a very personal skill, to see an image before you take it and then to capture that special moment before it is gone and I don’t think you can or should copy / mimic someone else’s work. However, I do draw inspiration from websites like Pinterest that have a mad collection of ideas from all over the world and has been used to share ideas with my clients too.
Photographing weddings and events to me is not stressful in any way. It is a passion, an interest and a hobby and I get paid to do it. What more could you want?
Best piece of advice you have been given (in life or work)
At the Engineering Company I worked at in Redditch my boss told me a wise thing once,
“To work hard at the things you enjoy and work harder at the things you love.”
What is your biggest success story or proudest moment in your career so far?
Capturing people’s personalities, reactions and emotions is priceless and to be able to share that is a great pleasure.
I have been very privileged to be asked to photograph so many weddings over the years and to be part of someone’s very special day, to be that close to them, seeing things that they don’t, it is very difficult to choose one.
For a number of years I have been lucky enough to work with an organisation that runs the UK Pool & Spa awards in Birmingham.
This has allowed me to work next to several famous celebrities as they present the awards. Sharron Davies MBE, Mark Foster, both Olympians and Michelle Dewberry who won the 2nd series of “The Apprentice”.
As a keen swimmer myself, I couldn't resist a cheeky photo with Sharon! (below)
Name the biggest overall lesson(s) you've learned in running a business?
Having worked for some major blue-chip, companies in the UK like JCB and Atlas Copco, I have come across many different styles of business and management. I have learnt that to get the best from your staff and maximise your business, you need to stimulate a good work ethic and attention to detail. But most of all encourage people to enjoy what they do, or even better do what you enjoy.
What would be your dream commission/ project?
I love taking photographs and portraits of famous people and I have always taken part in sport since I was very young. One of my hero’s growing up was Daley Thompson in the decathlon and more recently Jessica Ennis- Hill. These world champions in multi-sport events have reached the summit of all-round sporting achievement and so I guess my dream assignment would be to get a “Press Pass” for the next Olympics with access all areas and be able to take Jessica’s and Daley’s photographs as they work on the biggest sporting stage in the world.
Dad and I at the UK Pool & Spa awards back in 2017.
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