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Gem Rey

I live my l life through a lens. It has always been a passion of mine to capture all walks of life with my camera, to write, and to really live the life we are given. From an early age I used my fathers Nikon and found it intriguing what stories one could tell using ‘light’.

When I was 19 I went travelling to the tropical Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was the ultimate castaway location, beautiful. I met the most fascinating people and learnt about their way of life. I taught English to the little ones in their leaf hut schools, spear fished by the light of the moon and phosphorescence that seemed to literally dance like stars in your hands.

There were problems in paradise, and due to civil unrest in the islands, what had been a haven of escapism and new life became a tainted trap exposing war, savagery and unrest. My surroundings now reminding me that they were not my own, meant it was time to go. The airports shut down so a fortunate meeting with some Australian sailors who were on route to Cairns became my ticket.

Finding a passion

Through Papua New Guinea we sailed until land had vanished from all corners of the horizons, my thoughts full, we arrived at The Great Barrier Reef. The glamorous port of Cairns greeted us with expensive arms. Having spent five months living on ‘island time’ I realised in what felt like a crashing blow, that there is so much more to life than the materialistic desires that one can so easily base their goals on. I decided that I would have to work in a field that truly meant something. And that is what I did.

I filmed bottle nose dolphins in the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s North Island. Wild Focus Films took me to Tonga where I filmed the magnificence of the humpback whales. For Stray Travel I photographed the North and South Islands of New Zealand highlighting the adventurous and beautiful experiences the country has to offer. My passion for photography growing fast, I went on to study a diploma in photography. Coming top in my portfolio life has been exciting and rewarding since. My New Zealand tutor Mel Philips is a constant inspiration to me still in all I do.

London Calling

My love of London and my roots soon got the better of me. I returned to the UK in October 2004. This is when I realised  my photographs really meant something.

I photographed family portraits to begin with, children who were less able came to have their share of the light, babies who had lived through trials doctors had thought impossible, family generations in one room with the knowledge that these moments are to be cherished, teenagers wanting to express themselves through fashion, couples in love, budding models, and in some cases, famous actors. This was the unraveling of how I discovered just how much I love photographing ‘people’.

Ian O’Leary had a stunning top floor studio in Soho. He photographed food. He was about to advertise for an assistant but I got told about the position through a friend, met him for a cup of tea, and quickly moved into the studio as a photographer and assistant for the next 10 years! London and music called, and my freelance life began.

Life Through My Lens

“Life Through My Lens” cannot be contained and needs to be free to flow in my own style. I am on a journey in this world of light.

My camera is my life. I strive to make a difference in this world for the better through my work. I love to experiment with mixed media and create fine art pieces with photography.

It is far more of a risk to not do what you love than to do it. One life. One chance. Live it. Love it.

I love my job, and I hope you enjoy my work.

Thank you.

Carpe Diem. Respect.

gem rey x