Photo School was started in 2012 by Matt Murtagh and myself when we noticed that many of our non-photographer friends were buying fully-functional DSLR cameras as the prices had recently dropped to the same as a decent compact. They didn’t know how to use them, but they weren’t interested in doing a long course run by a college to become a “professional” - they just wanted to learn what the buttons did take better pictures.

We trailed a number of classes using Matt’s academic photographic knowledge and my experience in social media workshops, settling on a beginners model which, with yearly iterations, ran throughout Photo School’s life. After a couple of years Matt ceased freelancing and, with his blessing, I took on Photo School as my own project, developing it to comprise a quarter of my freelance income and folding it into my art practice.

Photo School was centred around Beginners Photography, enabling me to refine my knowledge of camera technology and photographic appreciation by repeatedly explaining it in new ways to different people. I also ran regular Photo Walks around Birmingham which I saw as equal parts photography class, community activity, guided tour and, of course, art. The walks lead to my first Arts Council funded activity, Photographic Exploration of Space, where I explored ideas around group photography as a collaborative artwork.

After eight years of classes and walks, Photo School went on hiatus in March 2022 at the start of the Covid pandemic. The relief at not having to run it as a business anymore was palpable, so I shut it down with fond memories.