Duncan Longden
Taipei, Taiwan

I was born in the UK and grew up in Oxfordshire where I eventually studied Film and Media at Oxford College of Art. After graduation I decided that photography was the direction I wanted to move in and so took a place on a course in Middlesborough, however I quickly realised that this college was not for me and transferred to complete my academic photography study in Sandwell College under the tutelage of a wonderful and inspiring course leader, Roger Hickman. I was very lucky to be surrounded by some creative and forward thinking photographers, some of which have gone on to forge careers in different disciplines of the industry.

Having graduated I headed to London where I worked in a dark room as a black and white hand printer. The photographic lab was the biggest independent lab in Europe, well established and famous, we printed for all the great photographers of the time. Other than seeing inspirational work, it gave me an opportunity and freedom to experiment, learn and develop my own photographic skills. Soon I began to assist photographers and move away from the lab and into the studio, further deepening my knowledge of the industry and techniques of using artificial lighting. I have always loved to be in control of the light I decide to use to paint my subjects, after all that is what a we do as photographers, record light.

I did take a break for sometime and moved toward an entirely different business, one that had nothing to do with photography, but I always kept a hand in. I took on small shoots here and there, mostly for fun, sometimes for commercial use. It wasn't until I attended one of my course mates and great friends whom I studied alongside at Sandwell did I realise that something was missing from my life, and that was creating images. I had to make a decision, stay in the business I was working in, or step back into full time photography. I knew that half measures would not cut it, that is something you cannot do in the image making world, you have to commit. I had picked up some better business skills from the very different area I had been working in and these proved very useful when I stepped back to photography.

I didn't really see it as a choice, my calling has always been image making and so I walked away from a steady career and into the uncertain world of being a full time professional freelance photographer. It wasn't easy at first, but I am not afraid of hard work and continue to create better and more beautiful images. I left the UK and moved to Taiwan, essentially I had to start all over again, but it has been the best journey of my life. Since moving to Taiwan I have built a team of great creative people, established myself as a reliable and skilled photographer. I have worked throughout Asia in Japan, Singapore, China and of course all around Taiwan. I shoot commercial fashion and portraiture along side editorial work. In addition to creating images for brands and advertising I shoot travel work for National Geographic and stories for the AFP amongst other varied clients.

Being able to create images for different genres helps me take influence from one area and apply it to another, I am privileged to discover wonderful locations and then bring these to the table to discuss with my team. Having really applied myself to continue with my exploration of artificial light and natural light has enabled me to comfortably combine multiple light sources in my image making. This is a knowledge I now share through one on one workshops, and also with my assistants. Something I particularly enjoy is watching them learn, copy and eventually develop a voice of their own in image making. This process also give me a greater understanding of how I create an image, light it, my knowledge of lighting and lighting control. A bonus is to be always open and learn from students and assistants alike, and always be reminded of the passion that image making should be fuelled by.

Now I am very excited to become an ambassador for Cactus Image, for me the represent a forward thinking, photographer orientated company. The products they make are developed by photographers (I am now happy to say I am one of them), working in conjunction with Cactus. I believe their ethos to produce hard wearing and tough kit essential for a photographer like me, mostly working on location and handling all conditions, wind, rain, mist, sand, you name it we've shot in it, is something I want to be associated with. I am very much looking forward to working with Cactus Image to build a quality product range that will enable photographers around the world to confidently light and create beautiful images, to be able to concentrate fully on their subject, know they have good quality of light, and that it will not fail on them.

I wouldn't be working the way I do today if it wasn't for discovering the innovative Cactus V6 transceivers, they were my introduction to the company and their product. They have never once let me down in all the thousands of images I have created using them. Trust me when I tell you I am hard on the kit I use, I demand high standards from myself, my team and the kit, if I had any doubts about Cactus Image I wouldn't use them, or recommend them to others.