It is only when one is older, much older and one can indulge in significant memories that enhanced the experience called Life that one fully appreciates the uniqueness of each person’s story. Before I embark on this sharing of my experiences and life and before I make any comments it seems fitting that I should hasten to express the following.
This blog is not an advice column, or a critique on any photographic or art work. It is not heavily opinionated but rather a documented impression of how light and colour, sound and life, sacred and profane places and spaces have touched me as a man.
I have always been passionate about photography. The fascination was born when I used to play with my father’s old Brownie camera. The feel of this magical box that could capture images in my hands was something I went back to time and time again until one momentous day when I was 15 years old my father bought me a 35mm single lens reflex camera. What joy! I was old enough at last to ‘shoot’ images as I wished. My journey, like so many others before me, had begun.
For the next two years I photographed every school event that I could. I bought an enlarger and processed my negatives in a makeshift darkroom. Seeing the images appear on the paper in the developer tray was one of the watershed moments for me and in retrospect served to prepare and enhance my skills as an aspirant photographer. Everyone in the Arts I believe has a moment when one is encouraged by not only ones parents but by a ‘mentor’. This was so for me. Upon completion of school I joined a camera club and this was where I met a man who influenced my formative years in the profession. John Marsh was a journalist and photographer for the local newspaper. He had previously worked for a Fleet Street Newspaper. He knew everything!! He encouraged me to contribute photographs to the paper but more than that – he taught me many things. How to read light and estimate distance and how to ‘see’. He encouraged me to read all I could find about photography. One does not forget such individuals who possess a unique generosity of spirit.
What a joyous moment when I upgraded to an Olympus OM1 camera with a 50mm lens and now the need to expand my lens collection became of paramount importance. While other young men were pursuing cars and bikes the pinnacle of my desire at that time was the acquisition of a 200mm telephoto and (my favourite) a 135mm lens.
In 1976 a catalytic event happened and one which I still have very fond memories of. One never forgets the ‘firsts’ in ones life. The first time you receive your paycheque, the first initiated kiss with a girl, the first car you can call your own. The first overseas trip. The first time really fall in love, the first time you fall out of love, your firstborn, your first divorce….one never forgets the firsts. I never forgot the sense of achievement and pride I felt at winning that first award.