Darren Lewey, MSc Film & Television Production 1993, runs a successful online photography school and workshop academy based in Essaouira, Morocco. View examples of his work and learn about his varied career below!

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Darren Lewey has always been interested in photography - he even had his own darkroom as a teenager! This passion led him to study the subject as an undergraduate at a university in England.  

It was during this period that Darren got more and more into film. He was drawn to the idea that a film can captivate an audience for a 2-hour period, compared to a photo which demands a much shorter attention span - a belief he blames on teenage ego.  

This burgeoning interest in film led him to study for an MSc in Film & Television Production at Edinburgh Napier University. It also ignited something that would go on to be a lifelong passion for Darren – the country of Morocco.  

Each student on the MSc course was assigned two components of filmmaking to focus on and learn more about throughout their studies. Darren was given writing and camerawork and set about writing and directing his own short film. After initial plans for a UK shoot fell through, Darren looked further afield and his eyes landed on Essaouira, a town in western Morocco.  

Sand dune in Morocco After acquiring a grant from Edinburgh Napier, Darren and three of his classmates headed to North Africa to shoot the film. The ambitious project was a steep learning curve, but an educational experience, as Darren had to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and make last-minute script edits.  

After graduating from Edinburgh Napier, he returned to Essaouira on multiple occasions to film a 30-minute documentary about an Englishwoman's love for Gnawa music – the rhythmic and spiritual music that’s traditionally practised in Morocco.  

Alongside this, he regularly visited Romania to work on a collaboration with former Edinburgh Napier classmate, Liviu Tipurita. Liviu went on to become a BAFTA-nominated film director and he and Darren worked together on a 1996 investigative piece about a Romanian healer running for President.  

After a spell of working on documentary films, Darren’s work was spotted by an industry professional who recommended Darren to Channel 4.  

This led to the next stage of his career, working as a director and camera operator on a variety of documentary and lifestyle projects for broadcasters such as Channel 4, BBC4 and Discovery TV. 

Darren remained in the industry for six years but eventually became jaded by the freelancer lifestyle and turned to teaching, earning his Postgraduate Diploma in Education. For five years, Darren brought his industry experience and knowledge to the classrooms of undergraduate and BTEC Nationals students, helping them gain precious insights into their future field.  

In 2010, Darren wanted a change and looked to move away from the UK. Where to? That decision wasn’t so clear-cut. He took a break and went on holiday to his home from home, Essaouira, and has never left!  

In Essaouira, Darren has embraced his first passion, photography, and over the last decade has established a successful photography coaching business called Creative Camera. 

Creative Camera is an online photography school and workshop academy.  

They are a leading provider of photography holidays and welcome complete beginners and amateur photographers who want new and interesting photography experiences. Alongside this, they also offer online photography courses and tutorials.  

Through his other enterprise, Images in the Sun, Darren also runs landscape, documentary and street photography experiences in Morocco and Spain.

Interested in gaining new skills? 

Creative Camera is offering two photography scholarships for 2021 to anyone who is aged 18–25, fluent in English and has a keen passion for the art of photography or its ability to tell stories. 

Find out more! 

What advice would Darren give to his younger self? 

  • Understand the importance of networking, especially while studying – it’s not as easy to make connections after university  
  • Follow your own instincts 
  • Find the thing that interests you. This has to come from within rather than external sources. When you find it, dig deep and don’t let go! Really explore it.

Published December 2020