Chad Powell - This Is My Story
Whilst everyone sleeps, in the darkest hours of the night, when the stars are out and the Milky Way stretches across the sky, this is my favourite time to capture my images. A silent time when the only sounds are that of the ocean or rustling foliage, a time when your mind can expand and take in the seemingly endless canvas that is the universe above. Here on the Isle of Wight we are very fortunate to have stunning natural landscapes, from the craggy coastlines to the sprawling hills. When combined with a fiery sunset or a backdrop of the night sky it creates a captivating, almost surreal image that seems like something taken from the imagination rather than reality.
I was born on the Island and grew up on a Newport council estate. Whilst studying Graphic Design at College I moved to St Lawrence at 19 with my parents, a very quiet village, it was a complete contrast to the life I’d been used to, having lived in the centre of the Island my whole life. I began a University Degree in Graphic Design and predominantly studied remotely, travelling one evening a week for lectures. I found myself suffering with anxiety which only got worse as time went on, eventually resulting in me dropping out of my University degree. Armed with the budget DSLR camera I originally purchased to create BMX videos, I began to take daily walks in the local area to help with my anxiety, discovering stunning cliff walks and wild, rugged rock strewn bays, the perfect place for my growing love of photography. I was out taking pictures of everything that intrigued me; landscapes, animals, people (all which can be found on a now disused Flickr account)
A childhood fascination with the universe and now living in an area where the Island can boast some of the darkest skies in the UK, I was driven to try night sky photography. The first time I captured the Milky Way from my back garden, I was captivated by the resulting image on the back of my camera and immediately decided to spend the next 6 months saving for a new, much more capable camera for Astrophotography.
With my new camera in hand, I waited for the perfect evening, and took the short walk from my home to my favourite spot; Steephill Cove. I posted a small handful of images from that night on Facebook and was amazed by the response. I began to receive requests to purchase my work and with just £50 to my name I put it all down on that first set of prints. This was just the beginning, but it grew quickly. With the support of a number of Island businesses who sold my work over several years, and an ever growing online presence, I gained the confidence to open my own Gallery & Shop based at Arreton Barns.
I still suffer from anxiety every single day and although this is something I have to live with, it is also something that has driven me down this path. Just being out breathing the fresh air, focusing on the process of capturing a shot whilst being surrounded by some of the extraordinary scenery the Isle of Wight has to offer, gives me a sense of freedom from the burden anxiety has on my day to day life. It is the reason I am so motivated with my business and attend to every detail myself.
For now, I am enjoying my time in my shop gradually growing my business, but I have aspirations for the future. I’d love to establish my own gallery & coffee shop. A place where I can showcase my work, build a bigger and better studio and enjoy a really good cup of coffee!