I attended Ipswich High School from Pre-Prep through to Sixth Form (2002 – 2016). I am now a freelance photographer and run my own business, SEH Photography.
A week after finishing my A Level exams I left home to work at an international show jumping yard – fulfilling my childhood dream. It was extremely hard work (typically 70 hours a week, most of which was physically demanding) but I absolutely loved it. A year on, circumstances changed and I made the decision to leave. Having taken a short break I set up SEH Photography.
I specialise in equine photography so I am still very much in the same industry. My photographs have been published in a number of national magazines, the most notable to date has been a set of photographs in Horse and Hound which I produced for the British Grooms Association’s mental health campaign Grooms Minds.
This year I will be attending a number of equine events in the UK and Europe on behalf of various companies, magazines and online publications, as well as doing private portrait photoshoots.
Did any particular teacher influence your learning here at the school?
I think all my teachers influenced me in some way. The teacher that influenced my learning the most though has to be my Design Technology teacher, Mr Earley. The DT course (being completely coursework based) suited the way I learnt best and Mr Earley’s style of teaching motivated me to want to work hard and do my best.
Once projects were set it was down to us to do the research and create our own designs independently. Help was always on hand, if needed, but it was very much down to us. For me this made me more conscientious, the information I needed wasn’t going to be handed to me I had to find it. I could also express my own opinions through my coursework and designs. Alongside learning the subject there were always debates going on in the classroom on everything from advancements in the world of design to politics and current affairs. I thoroughly enjoyed these debates, they challenged my perspective and again allowed me to express my opinions.
Clearly something stuck because, despite repeatedly stating throughout my time as a DT student that I wasn’t a creative person, I have ended up in a rather creative industry.
What have you studied after leaving IHS?
As mentioned above, having left school I went straight into working at an international show jumping yard where I not only gained a deeper level of knowledge about the care of top sport horses but I also learnt to be highly organised, self-disciplined and to work in a team. Most of all I realised that I have the capacity to work immensely hard.
When I first set up SEH Photography I had very little idea of how to run a business. It has been a very steep learning curve and I still have so much to learn, but I am enjoying doing so.
In terms of photography I chose not to go to university, preferring to study independently. Everything I know has been learnt through my own purposeful and constant research from books, online, Youtube videos, TED Talks and lots of trial and error as well as working alongside a few other experienced photographers. I am continuously learning, but aren’t we all?
What are your goals and aspirations for your future?
I have many goals surrounding my business and photography. I would love one day to travel around the global show jumping circuit working for myself or a publication, but really my main goal/aspiration for my life is simply to be happy and healthy, both mentally and physically.
Do you have any words of advice for our current pupils?
If you know what you want to do with your life, go for it. You are likely to regret it if you don’t. However, in today’s world the career you dream of chasing might not be the only career you have. Admittedly if anyone had told me that when I was at school, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
In two words, how would you sum up your time at Ipswich High?