Andy Oakes was born in 1952 and is the son of a professional football player and an academic. After his ‘A’ levels he worked as an engineer in the defence industry. His work with young people, on a voluntary basis, led to him producing a photographic study of youth in the inner-city for the Gulbenkian Foundation and a career as a professional photographer. Having created a photographic retail franchise business with a staff of 12 and a turnover of over one million pounds, he trained to be a Youth Counsellor. He now lives in East Sussex and works with young people, specialising in alcohol and substance abuse.