Ernie Taylor from Hackney North London is a disabled war veteran and ex-professional photographer who has been able to continue his passion for photography thanks to the assistance of a rugged TGA Breeze 4 mobility scooter.
Ernie was injured back in 1974 when a milk churn bomb detonated near his patrol whilst serving in Northern Ireland as a member of the 3rd Battalion The Light Infantry. This terrible experience and resultant injuries were compounded by the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and shell shock, which unfortunately resulted in Ernie retiring with honours from the armed forces. Military bravery had always run in Ernie's family with his Great Grandfather being awarded two George Medals, one in each of the World Wars and was to continue in the future with his Nephew, Steven Campbell being tragically killed in Afghanistan in 2010 whilst serving in the 2nd Battalion The Rifles. With early discharge from the army, Ernie faced a crossroads in his life and decided that he would pursue his life-long passion for photography as a full-time job. Ernie's resultant photographic career gave him the opportunity to shoot all across the world including the majority of Europe and countries such as Sweden, Morocco and Sierra Leone. However with the devastating news that he had a tumour on his brainstem that led to a stroke in 2007, Ernie was left wondering whether he would ever be able to capture life from behind the lens ever again.
Now living with PTSD, restricted mobility and unable to work, Ernie desperately needed to find the means to venture outside of home so he could continue fulfilling his life as much as possible. Being house bound for now well over a year and with the terrible news that his Nephew had been lost in active service, Ernie felt he had to find some way of leaving home and paying his respects at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 2010. Through Motability and TGA Mobility pulling out all the stops, they managed to fast track a scooter to him in a matter of days so that he could attend the march with fellow veterans and remember fallen comrades. This day represented a new beginning for Ernie as freedom had returned to his life and his passion for photography could begin again.
When asked about why he enjoys photography so much Ernie replies: "Even since I decided to stop smoking and use the money to purchase my first camera I have been hooked on photography. I get an immense buzz from seeing my compositions and everyday I know, whatever the weather, there are pictures out there waiting for me. Being able to experience the fresh air is so important for me these days and photography helps me stay positive and healthy which has only been possible thanks to my TGA Breeze 4. This fantastic, rugged piece of kit has no problems with negotiating the off-road terrain I like to drive on so I can achieve my dramatic rural shots. It has an impressive 30-mile radius on one charge and is so easy to control even though I have no movement down my left side. I totally depend on my Breeze for independence outside the home and its proven reliability and performance gives me total peace of mind. Since living with restricted mobility, I have shot over 20,000 images and now I have the wheels to do even more thanks to TGA."
Ernie currently uses two cameras for his work, a Fuji Finepix S100FS for speed and a HS20EXR for slower images with greater definition and quality. Both of these cameras have a flip-up screen, as Ernie can't keep a steady eye on the viewfinder anymore. Favourite photo-shoot locations around the world for Ernie have included a waterfall near Dephi in Greece, The Pillars of Hercules in Morocco and Gibraltar, Kasteel Terworm in Holland, Gamla stan in Stockholm and the jungles of Sierra Leone. The latter Ernie says were by far the most rewarding but also extremely challenging especially when encountering so many snakes! He has exhibited his work at the Off Broadway Gallery, Broadway Market, London and following such impressive reviews, he is currently looking for other opportunities to display his work.