I was always an artistic child, or at least my parents recollect the number of times they had to clean my crayon masterpieces off my bedroom wall, or any other wall to come to think of it. As the teenager years kicked in, my creative interests moved to another form, and I drove my parents crazy with my desire to learn to play the drums. Music became a bit of a passion for me, and I even had a haircut to match the era! I may not have realised it at the time, but this was all part of the need to be creative and to find an expression of talent, something which was later to be really unlocked when I became a photographer.
When Jo first thrust a camera into my unsuspecting hands back in 2003, I had already been taking personal photographs for some years. When the first digital camera came out, I was fascinated, this seemed an incredible way to create instant images, without the fuss and messiness of working in a darkroom. Magic! This nurtured my geeky obsession with all things digital – just ask Jo how many gadgets we have in our home!
My journey to being a photographer started as a child, growing up in a quiet part of Dorset. I loved art and would immerse myself in my own world of drawing and painting for hours. My weekends were filled with my second big passion, riding horses, and helping out at the local stables.
Growing up, I was lucky to travel much of Europe, and fell in love with the “differentness” of foreign cultures, their sounds, colours, flavours, and people. I needed a way to capture and bottle these memories, the excitement and buzz I had felt in these places, so I began taking photographs, first with a compact, then with my first film SLR. These influences brought a vibrance and freshness to my images, which has stayed with me since.
In my 20s my colourful foreign trips were alternated with time in the darkroom, where I loved the chemistry and magic of processing film and making prints. My first job was as a journalist, but I quickly realised that writing wasn’t for me, so I took the leap of retraining as a photographer, and in 1999 I set up Jo Hansford Photography.
I was fortunate early in my career to have sponsorship for several exhibitions which stretched my expertise as a photographer – ‘Colour Psychology’ in 1999, and ‘Time to Eat?’ in 2003, a comparative study of family life in Portugal and UK, exploring how technology is affecting the family mealtime.
Having a husband working alongside me was never part of a grand plan, but when I met Nic and saw some of his personal work, I knew instantly that he had a natural creative eye, a sense of composition and timing, all brilliant assets to a photographer. We’ve been creating great images ever since 2004, and love working together as a team.