I bought a new camera last month to replace my old Fuji which finally died on the beach. My good friend and comrade Stephen Nicholas reminded me recently of an incident from my teenage past; frustrated by an old Nokia which kept refusing to work properly, I stormed up to the top of a tall and windswept hill on the outskirts of my old home town and, after removing the SIM card, I buried it. It’s probably still there now. I could probably bury my old camera, on the same stretch of sand where it took some lovely shots for me.
This new camera is a more advanced piece of kit. I’ve lowered myself gingerly into photography, taking baby steps, all the while trying to shake off feelings of being a fraud – using smoke and mirrors to create artificial pictures. It started with me taking photos with the camera on ‘AUTO’ and then applying iPhone filters to hide the imperfections. Then I took the camera off AUTO and started experimenting with manually adjusting the camera settings. Playing with shutter speeds and the aperture to achieve the photos that I wanted, rather than the photos the camera wanted to take. I’ve been doing this for about a year now.
Finally, on a recent trip to London, I threw out anything that I couldn’t directly control. No more iPhone apps to tidy up my pictures, shrinking them in the process and ruining the resolution. I took the pictures, edited them manually by doing something no more complicated than adjusting the brightness and the contrast. I think they are some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. And the recent nagging feelings that my photography was starting to stagnate have disappeared again.
Of course, you’ll be the judges. These are just a sample. I took over 90 pictures and I don’t want to destroy your computers.
To end; recently the very kind folk at Opening Line featured my short story Alyssa in their March edition. You can find out more about the issue and the magazine below