I was born and raised in the north-west of England. I completed my 'O' levels at Helsby Grammar School in Cheshire in 1982. That same year my family emigrated to South Africa. Deciding to accompany them, at first I felt alienated and cut adrift in this new country. As a 17-year-old, I wrote to the South African Defence Force (SADF) and offered myself as a volunteer to 'fight communism'. Unsurprisingly, they initially declined my offer. Aware that once I became a South African citizen I would eventually be conscripted into the army anyway for the National Service, I completed my schooling. After leaving school I began studying computer programming, dropped out and then worked as a stocks control clerk in a factory.
During these politically tumultuous years in South Africa, I often wondered what to do with my life. I enjoyed writing and some of the fantasy and sci-fi stories I wrote were ultimately published in genre magazines. I also wrote a great deal of poetry (some of which was also published).
At the end of the decade, I became an art student and began to learn about the processes, history, creative practices and possibilities of photography. In 1990 I graduated from the Vaal Triangle Technikon School of Art and Design with a distinction. In the same year, I got a job as a photographer's assistant in Johannesburg and moved into a flat in the city with my wife. We lived in Jo'burg for just over a year before I was invited to teach photography as a part-timer at my alma mater. In 1991 my wife and I had our first child.
By 1993 I had completed my postgraduate studies cum laude and with academic colours. But South Africa was now entering a period of terminal decline and endemic violence in the forced maelstrom of political change at the end of the Apartheid era. Once the ANC came to power in 1994 we left South Africa (a difficult decision but, given the subsequent collapse of law and order and general anarchy since the ANC came to power, the right one).
I worked as a teacher in London for two years, then, in 1996 I was appointed Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. With my wife and (now) two children we moved to Wales. I achieved my PhD in 2006 and became Senior Lecturer in 2016. In 2021 I took early retirement from teaching.
I continue to live in rural Wales with my growing family.