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Dook - A Little History
I was born in Singapore in 1959 on purpose. It was the nearest hospital to the Cocos Islands, where my wonderfully British parents, John and Daphne Clunies-Ross, worked hard farming coconuts in paradise, the fifth generation to do so.
When I was young, I had always imagined my mum, with her 'motherload', rowing in time with her contractions, across the Indian Ocean to Singapore, to have a fish head curry and deliver me.
On Cocos, my father always spent the day barefoot, handsomely dressed in light grey cotton slacks, a white cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
He wore shoes only for the Queen's visit, and for dinner every night with his jacket and tie whether they had company or not. He is, as he once wrote under 'occupation' a 'gentleman', and so I was sent off to school in England with the vague hope that I might become one too.
A lifetime of boys boarding schools deposited me into the world, well educated, well fed but clueless.
During the last year however, I had picked up my mother's talent and passion for photography, spending hours in the darkroom rather than studying.
After a year off, my father encouraged me to become a photographer's assistant rather than to receive a formal training, advocating that job experience was much more valuable than a certificate, and I believe he was right. After assisting various people in London for four years I became freelance, which means you have a lot of free time trying to lance a job.