I've been working as a press photographer for nearly 20 years now. My first 'job' was part of a free sheet set-up in Manchester (where I was a student). I worked for The Guardian group of free sheets in south London before moving 'into town' – firstly at Photo News before National and then three years at The Independent. In 2002 I moved over to The Times. My first picture published in a national paper was coincidentally in The Times – a picture of Maria Bentley (who I had known in south London) after she won a pardon for her uncle Derek Bentley, hung in 1953. After winning the fashion category in the picture editors’ awards during my first year at The Times, I spent a few years covering the international fashion circuit, a far cry from humble beginnings at the High Court. However, these past 12 years have been tumultuous and, like a few of my colleagues from other papers, I have worked in a fair few conflict zones over this period. Syria has been particularly difficult and harrowing. As a sort of therapy, I dabble in nature photography and the more I do, the more I am aware of how hard it is. One skill of a good news photographer is getting yourself in the right place at the right time. With nature photography it seems that while this is true to some extent, you have to be in the right place for a much longer time and working out where that right place is, is the challenge. All throughout this period, I have always used Fixation, firstly as a place to pick up used gear but increasingly to service my ill-treated cameras and lenses. I have brought in kit covered in paint thrown at a student demo, gear bearing all manner of dust and dirt from the deserts of Iraq and a broken lens from hitting the deck in Libya. I know I can always count on the team to do their best to satisfy often short-notice requests and urgent repairs.