The photographs on this site are from the portfolio of Mike Howlett, ex-lighting cameraman and retired IT engineer, now happily settled, with his wife Sue, a retired Paper Conservator, in the small town of Needham Market in mid-Suffolk: five pubs, two churches and a reptile emporium - about the right balance, he feels.
Rather than capitalise on his new-found skills as a cameraman/producer, he wasted the next three years as a draughtsman for reasons that have never been fully explained. Then, with an odd bunch of recidivists, set up a small television studio in London to do his bit in the booming corporate video days of the 1980s. Never one for staying around to earn money when a film challenge was in the offing, he had to be recalled from a speculative filming expedition to the Andes by his own company to shoot a fashion programme for C&A (about as unlikely a combination as you can think of, him and fashion). And recalled again, later, whilst messing around shooting steam locomotives in Finland, to film a series of programmes for British Gas on the laws of thermodynamics. His production company lasted 11 years, until the recession of the early 1990s. He then went freelance as a lighting cameraman in one of the worst periods in the industry’s history. But it was a rewarding time personally, with, among others, filming trips to India (diamonds), Russia (with a chaotic string orchestra), the Caribbean (bananas), Bhutan (hot-air balloons in the Himalayas) and even the North Sea for a German TV documentary on the herring and its influence on European history. Alas, the fun had to end when his wife and friends found out how skint he was, so he retrained in IT and spent the last ten years of his working life as a network engineer in the NHS.
Now retired, he still misses filming, but only when he breathes. So finally it’s back to photography. He’s created a portfolio of landscape and other photographs, many of them on this site, and claims he will die happy if one of them is ever mistaken for an Ansel Adams’. Apart from early Gandolphis and Sinars, and an eclectic mix of high-speed, medical, 3D and other specialist and film cameras (his favourite the Åaton S16), he’s now using a Bronica system, a Sony Alpha6000 and a Fuji S9600 converted for infra-red, and is currently looking at drone technology for a possible film project. Happily resident in Suffolk as an ex-townie, he claims it doesn’t get much better than this, even when it rains. And when he’s finished washing the dishes, he can sometimes be found renovating a 1950s MPP Mk. VII 5” x 4” field camera with, apparently, every intention of using it one day.