Wednesday 17 October 2012

Why Photography? Part 1

I've been thinking about blogging about my history with photography for quite a while and have composed various versions of this post in my head. However the post has never made it from my head to the web until today when in the new class I've started, Kat asked 'Why Photography?'

I was given a Brownie 127 when I was a child. And although I remember the camera I don't remember taking any photographs with it. Nor can I find any evidence of my introduction to photography.  My parents have moved 3 times since I left home and I'm pretty sure any photos have been lost over that time.

Then I'm pretty sure I had a 110 film camera.

At some point my Dad had an Ilford camera which I borrowed when I went on a school cruise in the 6th form. That sounds posh! It was a schools' ship cruise with dormitories and lights out at 9.30pm. Oh and Captain's inspection every morning to make sure we were tidy.

Other times I think I used some of those throwaway cameras.

My first proper camera was a Fuji SLR

I did the thing you should never do.  I bought the camera about a week before I went on holiday to Italy.  My grandmother had left me some money and it just bought me the camera.  I knew there would be great views and architecture in Italy which I would want to photograph so I rushed out and bought the camera.   Fortunately for me I came back with some fairly decent images.

However it did occur to me (eventually) that perhaps it would be a good thing to learn something about using an SLR more competently, especially as I was beginning to acquire lots of different lenses.

I went to the local college and did several courses.  Each course was on a separate theme: black & white photography, portrait photography, landscape photography, dark room technique and still life.

At the same time I belonged to the local male dominated Photography Club and occasionally managed a commended in the monthly photographic competition.  Fortunately the guys weren't total misogynists and one or two were really helpful especially when I decided to apply to be a member of the Royal Photographic Society.  One even lent me his darkroom so I could print the required 20" x 16" size.
Sadly I haven't looked after this photo very well over the intervening 20 years as you can see by the large scratch in it and I've lost 2 of the other submission photographs because I entered them in a competition and didn't ever get them back.

Anyway I succeeded in getting into the RPS and I carried on taking photographs.  All the while of course paying for them to be printed.  I remember one of the guys saying he thought he might get one good photograph out of every spool of 36 he took.  

An expensive hobby!   I have about 25 photograph albums and about 10,000 prints stored in boxes.  And sadly those 'state of the art' albums with the peel back transparent sheets were totally the wrong thing to store your photos in, so now I have some very poor images some of which are almost completely pink.

But fortunately both for storage purposes and my bank balance, I discovered digital.

You will have noticed that I still haven't answered the original question, why photography?  And I will get to it but I think this is post is long enough so come back later for part 2.


  1. Wow, I never knew all that about you. Is there anything you can't do?

    1. I'm no good at anything sport related apart from watching it on the television.

  2. I love the way you've told the story of your journey through photography! Adding the camera images tells the progression so well along with your words. Even though you didn't answer the question (yet), it seems like the journey of how you came to photography is an important part of your "why." Or maybe part of the "why" is the long history you have with it. Love this!


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