Broaden your horizons - part 1 of 1 2

by Chris Bamber Published 01/11/2012


The work that generates an income is crucial of course, but Chris Bamber will be using his workshop at the 2013 Convention to demonstrate that there is also room for the personal projects that can help you to grow.

The story of Chris Bamber's career should serve as huge encouragement to anyone who might be standing on the outside looking in at photography right now and imagining that they don't have a chance of breaking in. A self-confessed drop-out at school, any aspirations Chris might have had of fulfilling any rewarding employment appeared to have disappeared when he spectacularly failed his 'O' Levels (GCSEs) for the second time. He couldn't wait to leave, and yet without qualifications his future appeared bleak; it was make or break time, and that's when photography came along to offer him a lifeline.

"It was around that time that I discovered how much I enjoyed taking pictures," he says. "Back in those days we all used film and we really thought about every frame that was taken because it had a direct effect on how much it cost you! I found that I was able to express myself artistically through photography while also giving pleasure to others through the images I created.


"With no career path on the horizon at this time it was suggested that I might study photography, and this turned into a great year of playing. Once the course had finished I was fortunate enough to land a job with a portrait photographer, and in the year I had with this company I took over 30,000 portraits and loved every minute. I cut my teeth in children's studio portraits and I am still to this day using the skills I learned back then. Looking back I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I had, and had it not been for this I'm convinced I would not now be looking back at a career in this industry that has, to date, lasted over 20 years. I love my job and it's given me numerous opportunities to travel, discover and capture."With a business based on the Isle of Wight, Chris primarily offers family and child portraiture, and he also works in the corporate world doing video, advertising and internal communications. Significantly, however, he also mixes this up with periods spent travelling and taking on non-profit work abroad, and he feels this has benefitted not only the organisations he's worked with but has also allowed him to develop as a photographer and to become better at what he does.

"The market for photography is tougher than it's ever been right now," he says, "and it helps to have something about a business that differentiates it from others who are out there. I have these two key aspects to my brand, and they are so very different but also dovetail together really well because I find that I naturally photograph like a portrait photographer in every environment I find myself in. By this I mean that there is definitely a place for a portraitist in the documentary genre, and I believe that my clients in the UK appreciate the fact that I'm also working for free elsewhere too."

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1st Published 01/11/2012
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