About Paul 'PJ' Joynson-Hicks MBE
I love photography, taking pictures and seeing the results, I love seeing a beautiful thing repeated on the screen. It's my passion.
I was born and brought up in the UK, London and then a country boy in Sussex. After school I went straight into photography, luckily as there wasn't much else that I was passionate about or could actually do!
I got a job as a photography assistant to a wonderful photographer called Angelo Valentino (look him up, he is inspired). He taught me a great deal about the reality of life as a working photographer, ie it's a mission! A tough, hard life where money certainly doesn't grow on trees – but entirely fulfilling. He also showed me how to use complicated lighting systems and so on but most importantly he did introduce me to lots of very beautiful models whom we photographed, I was impressionable youth at the time!
I moved to Africa in 1993 when I was lucky enough to secure a commission for a travel photography book on Uganda. That was subsequently published in 1994, to massive critical acclaim… ok, ok, well it was positively reviewed once by a small local newspaper in Kampala! I lived and worked there for a few years and then moved to Tanzania in 1997 when my tolerant publisher agreed to publish a new book on Tanzania, this was published also by Quiller Press in 1998 and again to massive, errr local acclaim. I then lived and worked in Dar es Salaam for the next 15 years with my wonderful photography business called Blue Mango Photography. In that time I published two more books, ‘Safari Dreaming – An African Adventure in The South Luangwa Valley’ – my last big work all shot on film, some beautiful black and white hand prints as well. Then more recently I published, on behalf of a client ‘SAADANI – A Celebration’, my first major work entirely on digital.
Meantime, I have done a few things not connected with photography;…Me and a friend, Matt Winn (where are you now Matt?) started a wonderful work playing football with street kids in Kampala, then I established a small project with recycling second hand mobiles from the UK (collected from COOK shops) with the proceeds paying school fees for recovering street girls, then we started the Dar es Salaam Charity Goat Races – which is a hilarious fund raising event racing goats, a dodgy sort of Ascot, but we have raised almost $500,000 since we started. I also established a project where men and women with disabilities are making artwork from scrap metal, wood, recycling paper and glass called the Wonder Workshop and finally the most recent project is called Molly’s Network which is establishing an accreditation and capacity building scheme for small grass roots charitable organisations. For all these things her Majesty the Queen thought it would be appropriate to award me with an MBE, very encouraging!
Now I live with The Pooch, two little boys, Rosie and Coco the Springers and two odd cats in the chillier climes of Arusha , near the wildlife action.