World Photography Day 2021 - meet Aidan Taylor


20 Aug 2021

To mark World Photography Day 2021, we interviewed photographer Aidan Taylor to gain a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how we do things here at National Highways.

World Photography Day 2021 - meet Aidan Taylor

So, Aidan, what is your role within National Highways?

My role is Film & Photography Manager, in the Creative team (within Communications Directorate)

What made you want to get into a career in film and photography?

I’ve always been interested in photography – I bought a basic digital camera when I was 16 and enjoyed experimenting with abstract compositions and motion blur as well as finding dramatic landscapes to photograph. I took an unconventional route to the job I am in now. I studied Philosophy at university, but had a big interest in the arts and knew that I wanted a creative career. I took a job in the Exhibitions Team (at Highways Agency) where part of the role was to organise photoshoots with freelance photographers, select, edit and keyword the resulting photos. I put together a business case to show how much could be saved by bringing the service in-house. The job has become more extensive over the years and now includes the full production process of planning, filming, photographing, editing, contract management and managing our database of assets. We are also about to add aerial photography (using drones) to our list of in-house services.

Have you got a favourite project or photoshoot that you’ve done?

One that sticks in my mind is a night time shoot at the top of Dartford Bridge (Queen Elizabeth Bridge) over the Thames. I had to take a cramped and rickety lift to the top. The tower platform was noticeably swaying in the breeze, which made long exposure shots a challenge! Talking of bridges, I was part of the crew capturing content when the Severn Crossing tolls were withdrawn. The BBC journalist didn’t arrive in time, so I stepped in last-minute to interview a lorry driver and had the honour of being in the first HGV to cross the Severn toll-free.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

There is so much variety day to day in the projects we work on. I enjoy all the different creative challenges of how best to capture content, whether it’s progress on work sites, activities on patrol with Traffic Officers, or at public and stakeholder events, there is a lot to keep our team busy!

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in film and photography?

My advice would simply be to keep an open mind on the industries that might need photographers and videographers. If you take the opportunities that are available to you and work hard then it’s possible to turn a hobby into a career

Image courtesy of Perou