When I was a young boy, my life was a bit more challenging than the other boys.
I had a severe speech impediment that was so bad I couldn’t even say my own name. I couldn’t talk on the phone and I would never answer it.
Whenever I tried to call someone on the phone, the caller would think it was a prank call and that no one was on the other end because I couldn’t get any words out.
I couldn’t communicate with most people very well at all, even my grandparents. Because I knew the words I would get stuck on, I would mix up my words to avoid using them. I also suffer from dyslexia, which means I struggle at english and spelling and I have poor grammar.
I never read aloud in class and I was teased and bullied at school. I went in and out of speech therapies, but not much would change.
A life changing moment
I had a life-changing moment when I was 18.
I had a dentist appointment to go to, and I walked up to the front desk and tried to say my name. All that came out was sounds, not words.
I just froze and stared at the receptionists. They were so worried about me that they called the police and an ambulance. I ran out the door, drove home, went into the gym and started lashing out at a punching bag.
My brother came to my aid and I cried for hours.
I didn’t want to do this any more.
It was time to make a change.
So with the support of my family, I did an intensive speech therapy course that gave me the tools and techniques to get by with my speech. Then a few months later I also became a man of faith, which gave me the confidence I needed to stand tall and accept who I was and to be proud of it.
Life would never be the same again.
The early years
I had several jobs and hobbies growing up.
I was a volunteer fireman with the CFA, and I worked in a bar. I also worked on a dive boat in the Whitsundays where I started my photography career by taking photos of tourists on holidays.
There I met my future wife and we travelled to the UK together.
Further jobs in London were at a gym doing membership sales, shooting and sales at a photography studio and then further photography roles at two studios back in Melbourne. Throughout this time I had to overcome so many hurdles in life just to get by.
Basic things like talking to people and answering telephones.