I first became interested in art, images and photography as a very young boy and was always fascinated as I watched my Dad set up and balance his camera on some old stepladders in our back yard at home. Positioning me in the frame to hopefully appear in the final picture, then starting the timer mechanism followed by a quick hop and skip to stand by me, the whole thing was a performance worthy of any comedy sketch and I have fond memories. Every time I am photographed, I am back there. Recently serviced and still working, the camera is one of the Voigtlander Bessa models acquired in Hamburg, Germany at the end of WW2, is still a treasured family item and can be seen in the image below.
At junior school, Mr Bond, as well as being a brilliant teacher was also a very good artist and photographer. I remember him drawing images in charcoal and then coating them with hairspray - fixer apparently. He encouraged quite a few of us to make pinhole cameras by getting old tubes from the fabric seller. I remember being totally transfixed as my first image appeared crystal clear on the tissue paper and it was upside down. No problem, I would soon sort that out. Little did I know.
My first images were made with a Brownie 127, loaned to me by our teacher, and the results were ok. I was a little confused though when my Dad said 'I had an eye'. The first camera I owned was a small Kodak Instamatic and the first 35mm was a Russian Zenit, family presents. Mr Bond loaned me a book of photographs that he had bought at an exhibition in London, around about 1971. I was fascinated by the pictures in the book and it was only many years later when I picked the same book up again that I realised it was 'Tir a Mhurain', a book of photographs by Paul Strand.
I was always keen on photography and had my camera at many family and other events. Initially self-taught, I eventually I took a few basic courses and met a Scottish photographer who has been the source of much help and support for many years. More recently, another local photographer has provided invaluable support, guidance and a really constructive sounding board.
I have a few of my own initiated projects that I am working on - these will take time. When I cannot get out or in an evening perhaps, I have many books or sites by other photograpers, artists and tutors that I like to look through or visit - I never tire of them, Paul Strand, Josef Sudek, Eliot Porter, Harry Callahan, Stephen Shore, Mr and Mrs Becher, Raymond Moore, Paul Hill, Thomas J. Cooper, John Blakemore, Fay Godwin, Lewis Baltz, Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, Robert Adams, Lee Friedlander, Eugene Atget, Andre Kertesz, Ellesworth Kelly, Jan Tove, Ray Metzker, Gerry Johansson, George Logan, Adam Dunning, Ben Dolman, Jörg M. Colberg and so many others. I can spend hours with their images and thoughts. There are so many master photographers and artists though - but there really is room for everyone.
Today, with or without a camera, I look, hope to see, try and understand and continue to learn.
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