The Analogue Days.
I am often asked how long I have been interested in photography and I have to say I got the bug quite early.
I got my first “proper” camera at about the age of 15, A good heavy Russian SLR with pre-set lenses and no light meter. It taught me an awful lot about photography that I find some photographers, who have never used film, do not understand very well these days.
I got a job in the local camera shop which firmed up my knowledge base, went to college to lean more, worked through another few jobs in the industry and then decided that I needed a change and became a professional Viking instead.
The problem was that loving photography and earning a living through it were completely different things and for me, mutually exclusive. I preferred to enjoy my photography on my own terms.
On the course of this journey I built my own darkroom and learned the craft of monochrome photographic printing in fine detail.
I studied every book I could find on the darkroom arts and actually gained a reasonable reputation as a monochrome worker in the clubs that I frequented. I didn’t do much colour work because it lacked the degree of control that mono had in the darkroom.
Around about the time of my career change, digital photography entered the arena. At first I was dismissive, the first cameras were no competition for even 35mm cameras let alone the medium and large format equipment I was using.
Eventually, it was the results that I started getting from RAW files from a small camera I had bought to service my web sites that convinced me that digital photography had a future.
Recently, I bought a scanner for the business which will also scan negatives and transparencies. That encouraged me to look through some of my old negative files.
I was interested to see that not much has changed in the style of my images but the thing that struck me most was how few there were that I would meet my standards today.
This was not due to a lack of quality or even composition although I do think we do expect a cleaner, more flawless, image these days, but simply that I must have taken far fewer pictures during those years than I do now.
It looks like my hit rate was about the same then but when a film had just 15 frames and a definite cost associated with that, you just took a more limited range of shots.
Scenes where today I would shoot many variations, back then I usually took one exposure on the meter reading, one over, one under and one on the nail again in case of some processing fault.
Without the instant feedback of a camera screen and histogram, bracketing like that was almost essential which consumed the film even faster.
Looking back, it was considered quite an achievement to build up a portfolio of 30 to 40 images that you would consider showing back then. These days I have hundreds to choose from in my collection that I consider to be of that standard.
So what is this page all about? Here are a few imaged taken from my archive. I have for the most part processed them in the much same style as the original prints were made.
I do not think they are better or worse than my digital work but there is a different quality to them in my opinion.
They do serve to provide a little history I suppose, some of the locations have changed over the years at least but I hope that they do not stand apart from my later work too much.
I leave them here for you to enjoy, or not, and reflect that photography has become much easier than it used to be in my opinion. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I will leave for you to decide.