As a fresh-faced 17 year old I replied to an advert in the local paper:
I thought it was going to be a rubber glove factory or something, but a week later I had a job processing film and printing contact sheets for the fashion industry under Cosimo D'Aprano and the late Jeremy Ramsden . Turned out I had a knack for it, and a year or so later I moved to work under the esteemed Brian Dowling at BDi in an informal apprenticeship. Boy howdy did I learn a lot, and I was lucky to work with the absolute cream of fashion and advertising's photographers.
It used to be a running joke there that I was going to be one of the last people to train professionally as an RA-4 contact printer in London. Sadly, that turned out to probably be true; but it did give me a hint as to which way the wind was blowing. I went and blagged a job with some old workmates at the newly founded Goldenshot Digital and it wasn't long before I was Head of Digital Print (at a mere 21!). I was mainly involved in digitally grading and printing large format C-types for the YBA set and other fine artists, and worked under Steve Macleod and Chris Cooke.
After a few years out doing a degree and a post-grad, I ended up as Head of Media Studies in a 6th form college for a few years before returning to the post-production industry as a freelance retoucher.
I then spent five years working for Metro Imaging as a Master Printer/Retoucher, producing exhibition grade digital bromides, C-types, lightboxes, and inkjet prints for the worlds leading galleries, artists, and photographers.
In recent years I've had a stint as the Senior Retoucher for Pro:Direct Sport producing bespoke high-end creative and e-commerce imagery and redesigning their entire workflow from the ground up to be powered by a custom Photoshop software solution I developed.
Sufficed to say that working with images is second only to sleep in my life.
I now live and work out of sleepy Totnes in South Devon (but it's ok, I have good broadband here!)