How did I get from there to here


 

I often get asked if I've been a photographer for long or if I had been to college or do I do anything else except photography and the truth is I don't think I know how to do anything else (well apart from breathing and eating and that but that goes without saying.. lol)..

So I thought I'd write down a few bits....

The year was 1985, Wham were top of the pops, I was 10 years old and had a mountain of hair (if you can imagine such a thing.) It was at this time I got my first camera, an Incredible Hulk real working 35mm film camera, green with purple trim..

I still remember trying to take photos of bugs, hair flopping in my eyes, blowing gloriously in the wind, the world at my feet. I have no idea if there was even film in it...

Art, mainly drawing, took over my creative side during my school years and through into my first college. I had decided I wanted to be an artist. I had chosen a General Art and Design course and it was there I fell in love with photography again. The year was 1994 and Wet Wet Wet were number one for what seemed the whole year..


It wasn't until a few years later after college ended that I decided to take the plunge and go on even further in my education at Leicester doing a pure photography degree. When that completed that I was ready to take on the world as a fully qualified photographer (that used to be a thing you know).

It was 1998, Celine Dion was smashing the charts like an iceberg carving through a cruise liner and I decided then to become a cruise ship photographer, see the world, rescue Rose and stand at the front of a big boat with arms out..

Well that didn't happen, the ships were full of quite large, elderly, abrupt Americans and the only Rose I met was 96, had a false hip and none of her own teeth.. But I did see the world, photographed some of the most amazing places, people and historical monuments. It wasn't an easy ride though, it was damn hard work, 7 days a week up early and through until the small hours, photographing, printing and selling but saying that I did met some really good friends, drunk way more than I should have and ate the ships weight in over rich, calorific food..

In 2001 I left the ships, S Club 7 couldn’t stop moving so I ignored their advice and I did.. (see what I did there).

I moved back home to Lincoln and started photographing property for estate agents. Not the most fun photography gig but it paid well and I got to nosey around the houses of the rich and sometimes famous.. I just then bumbled along for the next 10 years or so, photographing, learning more about the craft, and having my children.


It wasn't until 2013 I started shooting weddings properly. Katie Perry was banging on about Roaring or some such craziness and I had decided the wedding photography life was for me..

How lucky to be present at the most special day in someone's life. The best thing is I don't just get to do it the once, I do it loads.. So so so much fun you could wave a stick at it and would just keep on dancing past you with an daft inane grin on its face..

To intersperse with the weddings I had also decided to turn my hand to school photography. The year? 2019 and Ed Sheehan basically owned the charts with songs at all the numbers. I was busy in theorem times with schools and busy in the holidays with weddings.. Seemed a perfect balance but theres only so many photos of snotty nosed….. erm I mean delightful young people you can take before burnout. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it but it did take a toll on my creativity.


When Covid hit in 2020, Lady Gaga was getting rained on and I was getting a similar feeling with all my brides postponing (like raining bad news? does that work?) It was a nightmare wrapped in a constipated tiger with the grumps. I was so worried it was the end of weddings for me but I tried to keep the faith and kept all (or most) of my couples happy by agreeing to move the days for them free of charge with a big smile on face. They couldn't see me smiling of course, I had a mask on.

I won't lie, it really shook me, made me nervous for not only me but my kids and my kids kids and my kids kids kids.

By this time I had also met the love of life, Helen. Helen who launched my thousand ships, Helen, who gave me the desire to be more than I am, Helen, who was also tip top totty... Hello........


2021 came, Baddiel and Skinner had re re re re re released 3 Lions much to the annoyance of Ed Sheehan who still basically owned the charts.

I needed a new photography challenge and while I will always be a wedding photographer and love doing them with that daft smirk on face I now also photograph for the UK Armed Forces and its something that keeps my love of this beautiful trade going. Thats the amazing thing about photography, there is so much out there and so many opportunities to do something different, so much to learn and chances to better yourself everyday.


I love to rediscover myself in one way or another in this latest chapter of my life who knows where it will take me next but all I know is things are always looking up..



 

Written by and about

Andrew Wheeler

AWPhotographic