This little camera was one of my first real cameras. I think it was a gift when I was around 11 or 12.
I was obsessed with photography, you can see this from the marks aside the lens. These are the remnants of velcro strips which I attached to fix on my home made filters – plastic and coloured acetate.
Having recently started shooting film again, I thought I’d bring this one back into service. I’m planning on making the film currently inside the first I develop myself at home. Perhaps some of the results will make it online.
This camera brings mixed feelings for me. As well as being my first proper camera, it’s also the last camera I used between the my teens and my mid thirties.
I used it for a photography project at a youth organisation. Part of this meant receiving feedback on images I’d taken. I remember taking in my little book of prints to show the class. I was especially proud of a couple of shots and waited with great anticipation for the leader’s comments. Unfortunately for me, these comments were not altogether positive. And constructive criticism was more than my 12 year old mind could handle.
I don’t think I lifted up a camera much again, for the next 20 years.
In my thirties, I began taking photos with a phone and reveived encouragement, especially from my wife, to start shooting again. This has developed into a fulfiling hobby accompanied by a thicker skin to critics.
Sometimes I get to speak to groups of children about photography and I take the opportunity to encourage them to keep going despite knock backs.
There is no photo with this post. Because this post is about the shot I didn’t get today. It was a beautiful street shot and looked great in my minds eye. But sadly I had no camera with me; rookie error.
I was passing GAP when saw a guy standing ‘vaping’ in the doorway. He was an older man and was dressed in double denim. As I passed him I thought he’d be an interesting subject. However the shot improved as I noticed that all the mannequins in the window display next to him were dressed similarly.
The reality is I might not have got the photograph. Or if I’d got the shot it may well have been resigned to the trash along with the vast majority of others.
On the bright side, some blogs and magazines suggest going for a photowalk without a camera in order to re-energise your creativity. So, I’m going to pretend thats was I was doing.
I recently read an article aimed at improving street photography. Part of the premise was that simply taking shots of relatively interesting looking people does not make good street images. Instead looking for shots that capture facial expressions or physical gestures can be much more engaging (you can read the article here).
So, I thought I’d keep that in mind when I was shooting later that day.
The image above is an attempt to catch a facial expression. I was standing at a bus stop in the rain, disappointed that I’d not taken any good pictures that day. Then the lady appeared standing in front of me staring up. I liked her facial expression because she seemed to be transfixed. I called it Epiphany imagining that she was perhaps watching Angel’s lighting up the sky. In reality she is looking at the electronic bus stop, presumably trying to work out when her bus may arrive.
Granted this is not the finest street photo but I’m sharing it because of how it came about.
I’ve been reading an excellent book by David Gibson, The Street Photographer’s Manual. It includes guidance from the author, discussion of images and various profiles of street photographers. Today I read the profile on Matt Stuart who has an amazing ability to see images that most of us would miss. I followed this up by checking out his website.
As I shot the afternoon I found myself noticing things that I might normally walk right past. And then as I passed my local music store for the first time I saw these drum cases smiling at me like father and son.
I find it amazing that studying images from great photographers can not only inspire you but it can also shape how you actually see the world.