“Using the medium of photography to drive curiosity, inspire minds, evoke action and create lasting development that restores the balance of humans in nature.”
1985 – 2000 London
2000 – 2004 Somerset
2004 – 2005 London
2005 – 2008 Newcastle
2008 – 2009 Argentina
2009 – 2020 London
I was born on a Friday in September 1985, William Joshua Templeton. Joshua from my great grand-father, William from my uncle, although it was his middle name. The second child of my parents after my sister Anna, I appeared into the world a rather large baby with rolls on the back on my legs that led me to resemble the Michelin man from behind. I spent the first years of my life in south-west London; playing rugby, skateboarding, guitar, saxophone, my dad ran various businesses in the world of education with two of his four brothers and my mum made sure my sister and I were well rounded, considerate humans. To both I am eternally grateful.
At thirteen I got in trouble at my school and was ultimately, along with my best friends John and Nicho, stewarded out. I wanted to play professional rugby at that age and ended up joining a sports school in Somerset. I hated it at first and the initial six months were fraught and filled with tearful calls to my parents begging them to take me home. With time I realised I wasn’t cut out for the world of professional sports and the breath-taking commitment it entails and instead I got deeply engrossed in the music scene joining a band with three of my best friends, two of whom sadly passed away too early.
It was at school, with access to a darkroom for the first time, that my love for photography really took root. My mum had given me her 35mm Olympus OMD-1, a camera I still cherish and use regularly today, and it never left my side.
School flowed into university – Newcastle; Philosophy – and a deep fascination with digital photography. I received a small Lumix and later a Sony NEX as presents from my parents and watched the birth of camera phones which started to change everything. Focusing a lot on the street and party culture that surrounded me, outside of studying and music I occupied myself full time with image capture.
After university I spent more or less a year in Latin America, teaching English as a means to travel and shoot the new faces I found and face the new experiences the world had to offer.
I was incredibly lucky and from a young age went on various adventures with my family. When I was nine we spent a month in Thailand and Malaysia, my dad met a park ranger on a train journey that led to us staying in a national park with him – he was stationed there to prevent logging among other things. We slept in the forest and met Orang Asli tribespeople who raided our camp one night, stealing our kerosene lamp. The next day we asked if they’d seen it and they promptly gave it back and took us hunting with blow guns as recompense.
On another trip we travelled through Sarawak and Saba staying with various tribes in their long houses. One night my dad had a nightmare and yelped in his sleep, unbeknownst to us the sound was believed to be a honey bear by our hosts, leading to a small hunting party searching the forest in the dead of night as they were seen as a threat to the tribe.
We travelled Morocco and Kenya, extensively throughout Europe, various parts of America, the Caribbean, Cuba under Castro, Patagonia – my parents and sister also went to Mongolia to stay with some healers my dad knew, but at 18 and having just finished my A-Levels, parties and girls had a stronger magnetism than yurts, yaks and Ulaanbaatar, a decision I still regret to this day.
It was through these experiences that I developed a fascination with the human condition and a desire to document it. They also irreversibly opened my eyes to the negative impact humans have on the environment and spawned a need to help restore the balance.
Later in life I stared an events business with my sister and two cousins, Ed and Ollie. Son’s of Paul William Templeton. A whirlwind, we achieved a lot and had unbelievable fun, ultimately cumulating in the creation of the creative hub Carousel – where I ran a two gallery spaces – and a wonderfully mad events production company Shuttlecock. We were helped a lot along the way by our fathers, both who sadly died within a couple of years of each other from pulmonary fibrosis. It was during this period that I started exhibiting, having works published and realising that whatever it was I found myself doing, I always came back to photography.
After a lot of thought and conversation I decided that the only option for my future was a pursuit of photography. I recognise its ability to draw focus to important topics and help form opinion. I believe whole heartedly that we need to shift our thinking and learn to celebrate and strive for a diminishing negative human impact on the environment. We need to collectively realise that we are a part of nature and it is not something to be dominated or exploited. Humans are not separate from everything else that encompasses the Earth and to not act in accordance with its best interests is to act against oneself.
Currently I live in London, Clapton, in my little flat with my girlfriend Sarah. My mum lives alone in her beautiful house in the countryside and my sister continues to run Shuttlecock and lives with her lover Will and two kids in north west London. My cousins captain Carousel which will no doubt continue to go from strength to strength.