The last post was about me being diseased and laid up. Well that gives you time to think and spent a lot of planning time on the future of the studio. I also wrote this article which I debated a long time about posting but here it is, from the heart.
The last few years have brought about a world of change in my life. No matter how many years I’d prepared for it in my head nobody can predict the effects those changes will have. Nobody can predict who will be there to support you, nobody can predict the support you’ll require.
2017/18 was probably the most difficult time of my adult life. For all sorts of reasons I came close to throwing my hand in. It was the support and friendship of good people that has brought me through to this point and I cannot thank them enough.
Tomorrow I get to run a first workshop, sold out, at the Ark Studio in Birmingham. It’s Glen Jones’ vision that has put the physical Ark Space together. He could see the possibilities in a run down factory unit and has converted it into the sparkling studio space you’ll visit. It’s down to me to make sure your photographic experience matches the surroundings.
The studio, and fact that I’m around to run it is testament to Glen and his wife Sheela. I’ll embarrass them somewhat with the name check but it has to be done. Without them there wouldn’t be an Ark or probably JD Training. They’ve nurtured, supported and motivated me. Welcomed me into their home and become firm and lifelong friends. They’ve seen me flying high and sinking low and been there. That’s friendship.
That’s the ethos that we want to carry forward into the new Ark Studio. The minute you step through the door you’re safe. Everything you carried in your emotional baggage can be left in the street and hopefully it won’t even be there when you step back out. The moment you step into the studio you step into a family home. The Ark Creative Family. Like all families we’ll have ups and downs but you know we’ll always be there for each other. Showing those qualities of support, sharing, empathy, trust and not being afraid to “I love you”. That we do it through the medium of photography is almost immaterial. Sure we strive for the best we can be with a camera in our hands but we also strive to be the best team we can be, the best people we can be. For ourselves and each other.
Ark is not just a place to take pictures it’s a place to come and share good times with good people. It’s a place to come and talk when you’re not in the best of places, creatively or personally. We all lose our mojo at times and sometimes just a hug or a conversation can help that. I have weirdly psychic friends like Ken Byrne, Nigel Taylor and Dave Lindford. They pick up the phone to me at just the right time and a chat about life and photography is all that’s needed. It’s why Glen and I are thrilled to be launching the Ark Creative Club in the near future. More details coming soon but it will be physical and online meeting space for photographers from around the world to come together in appreciation of our incredible craft. It will be a space to share and remind ourselves we don’t have to be the best, just the best we can be and that it’s OK to feel at odds with the world.
Whether you’re a full time professional, first time picking up a camera or somewhere in between then Ark is here for you and we’ll be putting on events to support you. If we’re not, and you’d like to see something particular then tell us. If there’s a trainer in the world you’d like us to bring to Birmingham then let us know. 2018 has been left behind and we’ve a brand new model team in place to support our photography and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with such talented and hard working individuals.
Most of all when you come to Ark be aware of what we’re trying to achieve here. Come with honesty and integrity and a desire to make you, and everyone around you, the best they can be. If you’re coming with a different agenda then don’t step through the door.
2019 is a huge year for me now. It’s the year everything starts over and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It starts at 1000hrs Sunday 17th February 2019. Life is an adventure, join me along the road this year and share a part of that adventure.