Taking photographs has always been way more than a job to me. I care about the work and I care about my clients. Every time the phone rings or an email drops into my inbox with an assignment the possibilities still excite me.
I’m based in Bournemouth on the south coast of England but I’ll travel anywhere my clients need me to go. I shoot editorial images as well as commercial pictures with a strong editorial style. Whilst I am probably best known for shooting portraits I am equally happy working on features and campaigns. A lot of my work involves portable lighting and quite often requires me to edit on-site.
When I entered the profession in 1986 things were very different – both technically and in the way that we did business. Since then I have kept up with (and occasionally been ahead of) changes in the industry. The way that I work has evolved as my practice has developed and my skills have improved. Of course it is still all about the pictures but the way we shoot, edit, distribute and archive jobs is constantly evolving. Having flexible workflows is now a cornerstone of what being a professional means.
My time divides nicely between editorial and commercial photography. I also work as a picture editor on large multi-photographer projects. The range of types of work that I am doing is both fascinating and rewarding. From time-to-time I do some teaching, both in universities and colleges and with individuals and small groups. I am a strong believer in the “pay it forward” concept. Lots of photographers and editors have helped me to develop in my career. In return I try to help those following behind.
A Quick History:
1964. I was born in Bournemouth in 1964. That’s where I grew up, went to school and first became fascinated with photography. Between 1984 and 1986 I studied an HND in Advertising and Editorial Photography at Medway College of Design (now the University of the Creative Arts) in Kent. I graduated in 1986 and began working as a photographer.
1986. My first job was a four month maternity cover as a photographer at Haymarket publishing. From there I freelanced for a while before joining with two college friends to start our own small agency. In April 1987 we established an office and darkrooms in central London. Work picked-up and before long we were shooting for a wide variety of corporate clients, magazines and newspapers. My time at the agency was hugely enjoyable. I gained an enormous amount of experience in what seemed like a very short space in time.
1994. January 1994 was a big month in my career. I left the agency and joined the staff at the Times Supplements – which became TSL Education. It was a rewarding and enjoyable fourteen years. By the time I left there in August 2008 I had made over 3,500 visits to schools and colleges – which must be something of a record!
1998. After years of scanning negatives and transparencies I went fully digital. The arrival of a pair of Canon/Kodak DCS520 cameras was a big moment and signalled a huge shift towards the way we now work.
2003. I joined the team running The British Press Photographers’ Association. We work to promote and inspire the highest ethical, technical and creative standards from within the industry. In 2012 I represented the association at the Leveson Inquiry.
2008. September 2008 saw me becoming a freelance photographer once again. By then I had developed a reputation for being easy to work with, creative and very switched on technically. I have continued to use that knowledge to bring greater flexibility in the way that I work with different clients.
2012. An invitation to join the media team at the London 2012 Olympic Games was too interesting an opportunity to miss. I took three months off from my ‘day job’ to work at the Main Press Centre. The contacts that I made there have lead to many more interesting adventures.
(originally posted on my blog in 2009). Why would a photographer whose initials are NT call his website dg28? It’s a question that I get asked with amazing regularity and I have always enjoyed the mystique.
I did a seminar (in 2009) for some London Strobists and the first question that I was asked was “why dg28?”. Every time I tell the story it gets less exciting – unlike most anecdotes which seem to get longer, more interesting, adventurous and heroic. I have finally decided to tell all. Right here, right now..
It all started back in 2000. I had a site hosted by AOL which had a domain name longer than anything you could properly remember. The site and its content were attracting quite a bit of attention. I had written a couple of pieces for Phil Askey at DPReview. Sitting in a London bar he advised me to get some proper hosting and a snappy domain name. Good advice from someone who knows a thing or two about photography websites I thought.
A couple of days later I was doing one of my visiting lecturer appearances with some highly motivated post-graduate photojournalists. I was telling them all about the digital process – something that I was already used to but few of them could get their heads around. It was a successful lecture and we ended up in another bar for a couple of drinks. We talked about photography, photographers and photojournalism for quite a while. The topic turned to the old chestnut of “what was the first record that you ever bought?”
I always like this one because I have a very good answer. One member of my family started his collection with “Ernie and the fastest milk cart in the west” by Benny Hill. Being proud of my record I spoke first telling the students that I had bought Metal Guru by Marc Bolan and T-Rex. At that point a young Canadian guy said “that’s great. You bought Metal Guru and now you are our Digital Guru…” Cue light bulb moment… digitalguru would be a brilliant domain name.
The next day I got onto a registration website only to find that it was gone. As were several variations. Then I remembered Phil Askey saying that short is good so I tried variations on DG and finally settled on dg28.com. The dg bit is for digital guru and the 28 is for the day each month (the 28th) when I used to post updates.
You see what I mean, it’s not actually that interesting but it makes for a decent story – one which I hope to be telling less often in future.