I've always believed that people should have a hobby and one of mine is taking pictures. To wander out with a camera strap round my neck and capture what I find before me is one of my greatest, and most relaxing, pleasures. To call it photography might make it sound slightly pretentious and could give the impression that I do something more than paddle in the shallow waters of the art but for a paddler I think I do okay. I've had a few photos reused by different web sites and one even made it on to the BBC News site some time ago although that was because of the relevant content rather than style and composition. There is a certain thrill in having a photo picked up and reused by people but seeing as thrills don't pay bills, generally speaking, I'll stick with the day job, at least for now
My earliest memory of taking photos is one sunny 1970s summer day in the garden of our south coast house when I claimed the family camera and went around the garden taking photos of whatever I found interesting. At one point a jet flew high overhead and I took a photo of it and my young imagination thought that that the camera would magically transform it into one of those crystal clear pictures of planes that I would see in magazines showing the detail of every curve and rivet. When the pictures returned from the printers several weeks later there was a picture of a lovely blue summer sky with a barely imperceptible white dot in the middle. I found this disappointing.
I still have my budget, second hand Minolta SLR from the days of film and some of the photos from those days have a place in the various photo frames around the house. Given how much thought and effort I sometimes have to put into taking photos now I'm amazed that any of them came out so well but then those were simpler days in many ways although the wait to get photos developed was a nervous one and a feeling that I'm utterly and completely unable to communicate to my children.
I think part of my desire to take photos of things is that my memory can be so appallingly bad. It's the same reason I hoard things like gig t-shirts and other stuff as without them I'm hard pressed to remember events with real clarity but when I pick them up and turn them over in my hands they open a door in my mind which memories come tumbling out of. Photos are the same for me in that they remind me of people, places and feelings and in some cases they help me rewrite my recollections and make them better than they originally were. I don't know if you've had that happen where you look at a photo of some bygone event with fondness and warmth only to remember much later that the captured smiles came amidst family arguments, miserable weather, interminable weddings or perhaps all three. I've tried reading books on how to get better at remembering and recalling things but it seems to me they share the same association to every day life as would taking household budgeting advice from Victoria Beckham or going out for a jog with Mo Farah.
Anyway. My writing time draws to a close as Waterloo draws nearer so to the photos. The one at the top is one I'm pleased with which is a recent winter sunset from the hill in Worcester Park's Hamptons. The middle one is the photo that BBC used and the third is apparently my most reused photo on the internet which I took some years ago when doing some occasional writing for another web site. I when I checked this morning the most prominent link to it was from a Russian website so who knows how it got there.
There's so much I could write about this so I've tagged it as "part 1"...