I’m Chris Moxey – Mox for short! I was born in Brighton, on the Sussex coast of the UK and spent all my childhood in Sussex. After I left school we moved a few miles along the coast, to Worthing. I enjoyed it there but as a teen just beginning to get into the music scene the lure of London loomed large, so when a friend suggested we move there together I jumped at the chance. We duly arrived in the bedsit land of west London and I got an office job on the top floor of Selfridges department store, dealing with customer complaints. Most days we would both walk to our jobs in the centre of town – to save money for more important things such as clothes and gigs.
I can’t say I had any particular photographic influences or interests growing up. As a young adult I took photos on holiday but these were more to conserve the memories of where I’d been rather than as any artistic endeavour. At the time I was actually more interested in fine art. At some point I went to work for a fine art bookseller and having so much visual stimulation at my place of work encouraged me to start taking a different kind of photo. As I became more interested in the process a friend taught me to develop and print my own films. I think it was the magic of the printing process and watching that image appear on the paper that got me hooked, rather than the taking of the pictures. Soon after I applied to London College of Printing, where I studied graphic reproduction and origination, a course that included photography as part of its syllabus.
Later I studied electronic engineering and then went to work for the BBC. My photographic interests were put on hold for some time as I became immersed in my work there, first as a technical assistant – and for the last few years as assistant producer on the BBC Health website.
In 2005 the department called for voluntary redundancies. I did the sums and decided I could afford to apply – and with the redundancy payment I went back to college to retrain as a counsellor. Studying part-time meant I had quite a bit of time on my hands and after many years I picked up my camera again.
At first I took photos in the London suburb where I lived but as opportunities began to feel limited there I started to gravitate towards the west end, where so many people pass through each day! Oxford Circus is a haven for tourists, shoppers and students and it’s rare to see the same person twice. Apart from this I would take my camera wherever I happened to go. As a bereavement counsellor I could see clients for two days a week and the rest of the time was my own!
Although I’ve always considered myself primarily a street photographer, I’m drawn to other subjects too – but whether photographing people, odd-shaped hedgerows or house and car combinations, I generally approach them in the same way. It’s difficult to say why I do it. I just love it and I definitely get a buzz out of it. I can’t draw or paint so I visualise my world through the camera. As time moved on I felt more confident, I got closer, and I began to feel more of a connection with the people I photographed. Although there’s no verbal communication with my subjects I like it when there’s some eye contact. I’ve found it hard to describe this when asked but I think of it as that moment just after someone has spotted me but hasn’t yet formed a reaction. I have to say this is quite rare but it’s definitely a good moment. I guess many street photographers are aware of this feeling.
I still love London, but at some point I felt the urge to be back by the sea. Last year, a relatively long-term plan to return to Sussex came to fruition and I’m back in Worthing, along with my partner. Since I’ve moved back to the coast my photography has changed. At the moment I’m revisiting and documenting my local surroundings; I’m actually living two streets away from where I lived as a teenager! But I’m looking forward to some sunny days hanging out around Oxford Circus with my camera!