I have been interested in photography since I was a small child. I went away to Gilling Castle prep school when I was 8, and Father Gerald, my Form Master, took photos of life in the school, and every so often, a huge board would appear in the Common Room and there would be the photos of the reportage. You could choose them and order them.
Moving on a bit… I could use my Mum’s Kodak Instamatic when on holiday to take a couple of snaps, and the snaps that I took weren’t bad. One Christmas I was offered a Kodak camera that uses a 110 cartridge and loved using it.
1984, the year, not the book by George Orwell, was when a German Windband came to visit and we were introduced to Stefan Haller, who also played the horn. Yes, horn playing is another thing I do… Stefan had a camera. Not a point-and-shoot, but a real big-person camera. A “proper” one and I fell in love with it and decided that I wanted one. Dad, being Dad, of course, said no, but suggested that I learn how to use one, then maybe, only maybe, might I be able to have one myself. So I did…
Eventually, in 1987, I had my Praktica MTL3, with a Pentacon 50mm lens, and a Helios 135mm telephoto. I loved that thing and I learnt so much using it. It went on holiday, in my garden, and took a heck of a load of photos. It eventually died in 2009. Not bad really… It now decorates a shelf in my son’s bedroom.
Time went by, and I was still taking photographs, moved over to France, and digital came along… In 2003 I was given a little Canon compact as payment for a website I did for a friend. So, I used, and used, and used it… It died in 2010 or 2011… My daughter started taking photos with it… I’ve had a couple of bridge cameras and wondered if I could still use a “real” camera.
The answer was yes, and I got back into film photography… Again… Started by doing colour, and I seem to have acquired a certain number of cameras, from various periods, going from the 50s right up to the 80s. I have SLRs, compacts, medium format cameras, and a Soviet rangefinder. They are a real joy to use.
As far as digital is concerned, I still have my bridge cameras, and my daughter uses my Sony HX300. My favourite camera has to be the Fujifilm X100F which is the perfect link to my old film cameras. I also have a Canon 6d Mark ii and various lenses.
But these cameras are nothing more than tools to capture an image. Nothing more than a way to capture what my eye can see at any one given time, and then share it.