As a child growing up in Bradford one of my childhood memories was a recurring and vivid frightening nightmare where I would be falling from a great height. It was always a blessed relief to wake up at the point of impact and realise it was just a messed up dream, yet the dreams were nearly as frightening as the thought of that hideous clown hiding in the airing cupboard that an uncle had cruelly teased me about. I think the falling nightmares started after falling off the neighbours garage roof despite my dad having told me multiple times that I would fall off. If only we listened to the voice of experience!
As I got older I had a moderate fear of heights especially when looking over the edge of cliffs when on holiday in Pembrokeshire which would make my head spin and send me dizzy. Even climbing a ladder to clear out the gutters took a certain amount of dogged determination to overcome the fear.
So you might justifiably wonder how I progressed from nightmares to hanging off the edge of buildings and cranes at great heights at all times of day and night all over the country. It’s simple really, to me the Image is everything. I realised that fear is just a state of mind and any misgivings were simply minor glitches when it comes to my photography and what it means to me.
There is nothing quite like being on the top of a crane or high building at night as the world sleeps. The atmosphere is electric and often accompanied by the adrenalin rush of achievement as you see the pictures on the camera lcd screen as you take them. To stand surveying the bright lights of the night from a different perspective is quite humbling as you see the city stretch out in front of you, and you become acutely aware of how lucky I am to be able to experience this.
For me I will never give up searching for those beautiful city scapes regardless of what I perceive as sensible risk. People probably think I am mad/crazy but the reality is all the places I visit have been passed for health and safety and unless something beyond the restraints of those rules occur it’s just simply overcoming a basic human fear of heights.
As a professional photographer and author with 11 published titles under my belt my future is sealed in a world of spontaneity and desire to always search out the perfect images of the world as I see it. I am inspired by no one but the landscape I live in and I see the camera purely as an extension of my eye that enables me to do what I do. My work has appeared in many books other than my own, countless magazine articles as well as on television including documentaries and news programmes. To me it’s a way of life, it’s like treading water and a walk in the park.
People climb mountains and that is deemed acceptable, but I climb cranes and buildings and to some that is not acceptable, and that is their view of which makes no difference whatsoever to me.
Give me a clear sky and a full moon and the night becomes my playground.
Living in Haworth I am inspired by the Bronte landscape which was the very place which gave the Bronte sisters the perfect menu to weave their magic with words that to this day draw visitors worldwide. To me the closest thing to time travel is my ability to stand by the Parsonage in the early hours of the morning when all modern day noises have stopped and soak in that very atmosphere that still hangs heavy.
Through my books which are very much image driven and cover a multitude of subject such as Dylan Thomas, The Brontes, 19th Century Lunatic Asylums and the famous Undercliffe cemetery in Bradford my aim is to leave a legacy of rich photography that in a centuries time and beyond will be points of reference long after I am dust…
My website is www.mark-davis-photography.com