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About Colin Woods

Colin Woods Some background about myself. Its really not that interesting, but with the shelves of bookshops groaning with 'celebrity' and sports autobiographies I'm not the only one to inflict details of an ordinary life on the public. At least this runs to just a few paragraphs.

I was raised in a small village in the middle of Essex, England. I combined an unremarkable school career with the usual childhood things. I built Airfix Spitfires and Stukas which I shot up with my airgun. I fell out of trees and off of bikes which hurt a lot. I got crappy reports from school which I ignored. Life for a kid was much simpler then.

Eventually school came to an end and, having scraped a few A levels my options were either the appalling prospect of work or continue being a idle student. This didn't require much thought, and consulting my crystal ball I saw a glittering and lucrative career in Chemistry. If only I had gazed into it for a few moments longer I would have seen the triumphant reception of the Titanic in New York and Hitler's victory march along Pall Mall.

A sigh of relief went up on the further education circuit as it became known that Hatfield Polytechnic had got my custom. Four years later I had received valuable lessons in how to fiddle the electric meter, how to make a curry for less than 75p and why you don't drink three pints of Kronenberg 1664 then three pints of Merrydown. For tenacity if not brilliance, they threw in a chemistry degree. Not being able to find a job I wanted, I then took a career change and got a job in London as a painter and decorator (or polymer application and distribution specialist as I preferred to think of it). My heady progress towards Changing Rooms stardom was halted by a motor bike accident which left me more or less a total loss with a broken thigh and wrist.

I decided to spend my convalescence in sunny Torquay with a friend. While recovering I unfortunately got a job.It happens to us all in the end. Two years after that I got a better job at ICI's environmental lab in Brixham. Twelve years on I was still there, showing all the signs of being a lifer, signs such as giving a toss who got the internal Project Manager promotion and considering joining the Social Committee.

All this may have come to pass had it not been for a chance meeting on the summit of a mountain in the French Alps. I fell into conversation with a charming French Canadian girl and not wanting to let a good thing go to waste, stuck to her all day long. I was absolutely the human poultice. All attempts on her part to get away were neatly out-generalled. At the end of the day we exchanged addresses and, despite my having a face like something from the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, Helene was all for me. After a long distance courtship I moved to Montreal in Oct 2002.

I worked for a couple of years as a chemist at a terrible company in Montreal until it was time for another change of direction. We moved out to a region of Quebec called Gaspesie in 2005 where the air is clear, stress is low and three cars in a row is considered a jam. I live there with Helene, our two and a half year old son and our six month old daughter. I officially labelled myself Photographer and began submitting images to agencies, building websites and generally looking for ways to make my passion pay.

I can recall exactly how I got involved in photography. My passion as a lad was planes (it still is in fact, which depresses Helene somewhat) and I wanted to take photos of the airliners at Heathrow. My Instamatic was not up to the job so I went into a camera shop and asked for a camera that would enable me to change lenses. The bloke took a look at my clueless face and sold me a Zenith E. Russian built, this gem cunningly combined poor features, a poor lens, slow operation and great weight. It was not a great camera but I fell in love with picture taking and learnt a lot about camera use from its 100% manual operation. Somehow in the early nineties I got hooked on mountaineering. This in itself was remarkable as normally I model my activity level on the moss-covered sloth. I really began to concentrate on my picture taking and was very encouraged when I began to get shots that evoked the emotions of the scene, and even more encouraged when people stayed awake in my slide shows.

When I joined forces with Helene I started to take some travel shots and found that I liked it. I had always found photography in cities and towns hard but like everything it comes with practice. That’s where I am today, still loving taking pictures whether it is in the thin air of the Alps or on a crazy Indian market place.