About Me

My name is Paul McDermott. I’m a young, London-based, freelancer who (due to the current awful situation with employment in Britain) has found himself with a bit of spare time on his hands. I have an appreciation for all things creative and want to use this blog as a way of sharing things that I appreciate with the masses.

About me… hmmm! I always find this kind of thing difficult to write.

I studied animation at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design from 2001 to 2004 earning myself a BA with honours. Leaving uni was very daunting and I ended up not really knowing how to get a job in the field I had studied in. As such I became a teaching assistant, as you do! In my old primary school, where my mum used to work for 30 odd years. It was very strange to be back working alongside people who I had called Miss and Sir. I settled in and loved working as a teaching assistant. You get to work with the bright optimistic minds of the children and be creative and play all day long. I used to enjoy using my creativity to make displays and also became Artistic Director for the school plays. The only draw back of the job was Teaching Assistants get paid the worst salary you could imagine (no, seriously!)

So after a few years of assisting my ass off, I decided to go for it and train to be a fully fledged teacher. I took part in the Graduate Training Program and successfully got my Newly Qualified Teacher status in June of 2009. I couldn’t find a job though. Applied and applied to various schools but most of them were looking for experience. After a few months, I got thinking about teaching again, and came to the decision that its pros were far smaller than it’s cons. I hate paperwork and it seemed that it was being done just for the sake of it and never being looked at again. In my one year training year, I accumulated twelve lever-arch binders of ‘stuff’. And the initiatives! Oh God, the initiatives! Why won’t the government just leave education alone. They constantly tinker about with the inner workings. Go back to basics for heaven’s sake!

I am no longer teaching and have decided to try to turn my hobby into a career, or at least earn some money from it. I love travel and photography. I’ve done a bit of both but there’s always room for more. The hard thing is being good enough at one of them to enable the other. I try hard to improve my photography as best I can, giving myself new challenges. I use a Canon 450D DSLR for being fancy and also a Panasonic TZ5 for quick snaps. I guess most of my work would be classified as travel photography, some landscapes, some architectural. I just try to keep my eyes peeled for a good photo opportunity. I have travelled to New York a couple of times, Chicago, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and a few places in Europe.

Although I’ve lived in London my whole life, I don’t really feel at home here. I don’t mean family and friends, I couldn’t live without them, I mean the city as a whole. If there’s one place where I have felt right at home it has to be New York. I first went in 2006 with my good friend Clare; it was Christmas-time and the streets were so festive and the atmosphere so jolly. This was actually the first time I’d left Europe, and seeing all the iconic sights of this amazing city for the first time is something that will stay with me forever. Thanks Clare 🙂 We arrived there on Boxing Day night, landing at JFK after an eight-hour flight. I had (stupidly) booked a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel thinking it would be quicker than getting a taxi. The driver bundled in as many other travellers as he could, going around all of JFK’s terminals until his van was full to the brim. I was so excited about being there, I just wanted to get the sightseeing started already. I remember trying to contain my excitement as the city skyline came into view, nudging and prodding a fast asleep Clare in the seat next to me. Surrounded by a bunch of strangers I was forced to keep my excitement in check for a little longer. We were first to be dropped off at our hotel in Lower Manhattan, and a now awake Clare and checked-in, dumped our luggage in our room and went off for a midnight stroll around the financial district. Initially I was a bit apprehensive to be walking around at the dead of night, just the two of us in a city that (in films at least) has a reputation for danger. This feeling quickly went away and I was amazed how safe and at home I felt.

This holiday gave me the bug and I did some more travelling over the next few years. I was on a pretty low wage so didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked, but my travels took me to Hong Kong with family to celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday; Chicago in 2007 to celebrate new year; back to New York to see in 2009 and then to Las Vegas in April of 2009. I lost my job in 2009 but still managed to go for a little jaunt to Oslo and Prague in February of 2010. I have so many places that I’d love to visit, but for now at least they are on hold due to budgetary restrictions – in that I have no budget.

In an attempt to remedy that, I have started up a small business as of November 2010. On my travels I had collated quite a large library of photography that was laying idle on my PC. Friends and family had suggested I try to sell some of it. And so www.pmcdphotography.com was born.

In addition to the website, I also sell my prints at craft fairs and markets, primarily at Merton Abbey Mills, which is a historical market with links to William Morris and Liberty & Co. For more on Merton Abbey Mills and its history click here. So far the market is going well. I offer a selection of prints as well as the option of specialised commission work. It’s early days but I hope this small business will blossom into something quite fruitful. You have to start somewhere, and I’m hoping the patience I honed whilst working with children, will help me to expand and grow.

Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading…

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. smcdesign
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 23:33:07

    Looking good… Though I want to steal your theme as its better than mine 🙂 x

    Reply

  2. Joan Jenrich
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 15:54:10

    Hi Paul.

    I didn’t know you studied animation. That’s so fascinating. I just finished watching Toy Story 1,2 and 3 from Netflix. Pixar is wonderful.

    PaulMcD’s blog is written so well. That’s another talent you have, beside your excellent photography.

    Reply

  3. suziepindar
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 11:25:22

    hello mate! just seen from a google search that you have added me on your blog role site. thanks mate, how do i return the favour? or can i follow you??

    Reply

    • paulmcd
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 15:33:38

      That’s ok matey. I haven’t been on my blog for ages (busy at work). Hope things are going well! I keep meaning to get back down to Abbey Mills to do some shopping. I said to Julie that I’d buy some sequins off of her and I keep forgetting to come down to get them. I was working yesterday so today is my only day off before back to work for another week. Hope she doesn’t think I’m being rude. Are you still doing one day a week there? I will try my best to pop down next Saturday!!!! Happy selling 🙂

      Reply

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