My interest in photography started while still at school in the Glam Rock era of the mid 1970’s assisting an experienced photographer with his wedding photography and darkroom developing and printing, we were still many years away from digital cameras. As I entered 6th form to study A ‘level Art and Graphic Design, a new technology made its embryonic appearance: Video Cameras and video suddenly became the in thing at weddings. My photographer mentor went and purchased a Betamax video camera (remember those), and then realising he couldn’t take still and video footage plonked the Video camera in my hands and duly volunteered me as his new Video cameraman. Talk about dropped in the deep end and we are not talking about one of the modern handy cams this thing had a huge case containing the recording equipment and battery and the camera itself rested on your shoulder. Still I managed to get some excellent footage on my first outing and with some careful editing and background music it looked good.
My first job after leaving school was in a large commercial photographic studio in Central London, specialising in the advertising industry. My eyes were opened up to a whole new world of 5 x 4 and 8 x 10 large format cameras, huge purpose designed studios, with a multitude of lights, with names such Fish Fryers and Swimming Pools. I continued to work alongside my mentor and after several years he asked if I would be interested in helping him set up a studio, specialising in Modelling, Portraits and Glamour and manage it for him; I could not turn this offer down. So began my next change of direction in photography. After several years I met my then future wife, which resulted in moving to a new geographic location, unable to find work in the local photographic industry I had to pursue an alternative occupation. I still maintained my interest in photography, but more as a hobby rather than career and turned my eye to photographing animals, landscapes and the natural world, at the same time going through the transition from film to digital technology.
I love the way digital technology has opened the door of photography for so many people from when I first started all those years ago, where you were viewed as a bit of a geek!
If I you were to ask me what this old Dinosaur would suggest all new photographers do, is to turn all auto functions off, including auto focus, get themselves a 50mm 1.8 lens and read the manual!
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