How It all started…
I started my photography journey way before I even knew it. I know that may seem really odd as how can you not know when you started your journey. But let me explain…We have to travel back 19 years…hold on…
THE YEAR 2000
The millennium bug(google it) did not cause planes to fall from the sky or crash all the computers in the world. The world is very much still the same…well its not completely the same. This would be the year I got my hands on the Marshall Mathers LP and I think this was when my photography journey started. But I wouldn’t actually pick up a camera until 14 years later.
I am not afraid to admit this, I was a massive Eminem fan. I mean massive. I dyed my hair bleach blonde just like he did. I am 99% sure Stan was loosely based on me(not really). After getting my hands on the album from HMV, I put into my CD player(google it) and I was instantly hooked. I was so hooked I went back and purchased Eminem’s first album Slim Shady LP. A couple years later I went on a 12 hour day to watch him perform at Milton Keynes Bowl for the AMT. I was that inspired by him, he gave me that much confidence, I decided I could do it as well. Yes that is right. I decided to pick up the mic.
Will The Real Leeds Rapper Please Stand Up
I truly believe this is where my journey to be a photographer started. I always had the urge to be creative. I always wanted to be different and stand out. When I was in primary school I always tried to get roles in school plays where I was the lead act or I had a solely part. So I do not feel it would be fair to imply Eminem gave me confidence. I think it was instilled in me from a young age by my mother and father, which I am very thankful for.
2003 - One of the worse years of my life.
I was coming to the end of my high school life, I was getting ready for my GCSE’s, I was so ready to get into the big world and start forging my path in life. I had been writing hip hop lyrics on bits of paper and in notepads for 3 years. But never had the chance to record one of my songs. However, I was fully immersed in Eminem by now. Nobody could tell me anything about Eminem that wasn’t good. If it wasn’t something positive I was not listening. Anyone dissing him, I was ready to cut them off. Yeah I was THAT hooked on Eminem. But shit was about to take a turn for the worse and man this was not something I could have planned for.
Rest in peace
July 5th 2003 - I was 16 years old when my dad died in a motorbike accident just outside of Knaresborough. I can still remember everything about that day and for years afterwards I would beat myself up about it. I think I got to a stage where I hated myself. It was all my fault. I am not 100% sure what or when it happened, but I realised I needed to change. This was not healthy. I needed an outlet. This is where hip hop came in and provided that outlet for me.
Hip Hop Saved My Life
I went full hip hop. I downloaded beats from the internet and started to write and record like a person possessed. A few of my songs can be still found on the internet if you know the right things to search. I say that Hip hop saved my life because it gave me the outlet to express myself when I could not think of any other way. I have no idea where I would be without it. But I am certain I would not be doing photography.
OK…you can listen to my songs..
https://soundcloud.com/antmysta/these-demons <-This song was featured on Radio Leeds Introducing Show. Yep, I had a song on the radio..well two. Another one of my songs called “Pressure” was on the radio as well. I never made it to national radio, but it felt good to be taken seriously.
2004 - Rest In Peace GRANDAD
I was just starting to get back into the groove of life after my dad passed away. But life decided it was not ready for me to get back into the groove just yet. 5th August, my grandad passed away. This was really hard on me, I didn’t know what to do. I started to doubt myself and I could feel myself slowly sinking inside my own mind. I think the reason I took it so hard was because after my dad died, I was lost. So I turned to the next available father figure in my life, which was my grandad. Then to have him die so suddenly, it made me think at one point that I was a curse. If you came near me, you would die. So I shut people off. I nearly shutdown myself. But thankfully, my mum, family and close friends did not allow that to happen. Also I believe that going to the bereavement group in Yeadon helped a lot.
I firmly believe that these few life events set me on the path to where I am now. I think I was always going to do something in the creative sector, but the above life events steered me to where I am now. Am I thankful? F*ck no. I would rather have my dad and grandad back in my life over anything else. But as I can not change that I have come to accept that what happened was so I could be sent on this path.