Turning 18 and having a proper job allowed me to purchase my first 35mm SLR, a Praktica MTL 5B. A big heavy sturdy camera which still is in complete working order today, nearly 20 years since I first used it. I was now taking photographs every weekend and starting to build up a portfolio and a huge amount of negatives as well as a huge bill in the local chemist for printing. I needed options so I purchased a darkroom kit and started to develop and print a lot of my own black and white films in my bedroom. Turning a bedroom into a darkroom was a challenge but great fun at the time.
Moving on from the Praktica I purchased a Pentax P30, a superior camera to the Praktica but not as well built or solid as I got only two years out of it before I sold it on and got a second hand Olympus OM10. It was at this time that I started work in the Defence Force, having just turned 20. It would take another 18 months before I managed to get myself a place in the Air Corps Photographic Section, and what followed was 23 years as a Defence Forces photographer, travelling all over Ireland as well as overseas photographing the Defence Forces in action. It was one of the best jobs going and I thoroughly enjoyed most of it. Starting back in the late 1980’s in a darkroom and black and white film, with Nikon F3 cameras to finishing up using Canon 5D Digital cameras and Photoshop.
So here I am today, in my mid 40’s and the proud owner of 2 Canon cameras, a full portable studio set up as well as other photographic bits and pieces. My career to date has seen me work through huge leaps in technology and that’s why as a photographer you are always learning.
In my next article I will cover my career since I left the Defence Forces and how I feel my role as a photographer at events is ever changing and evolving.
When I sat down to write this I had to try remember when I had my first memory of a camera. As my father had always taken photos, there was always a camera in the house, a lovely Yashica Twin Lens Reflex camera which I am proud to have in my collection now. But my first recollection is my sister’s Communion, and as we went to visit all the relatives I was allowed mind the camera in the back of the car. The camera was a joy to hold, heavy with twin lenses at the front, a big winding mechanism on the side and a real leather case with red velvet inside.
Of course as I was only 10 there was no way I was going to be allowed to use the camera, but it started a passion within me that I still have today, 36 years later. The first camera I actually owned was a little Kodak 110 Film cartridge camera. This little camera came everywhere with me, trips away with the family and Scouts. Everywhere I went I was recording the event and occasion with my little camera.
As I got older and started to earn a few pounds I saved up to buy what I thought was a super proper 35mm camera, a little Olympus Trip 35, again a camera I still possess today. I was as proud as punch when I went into the shop and picked out the camera I wanted, even now I can recall the salesman trying to sell me something else. But my mind was made up; I wasn’t ready for a SLR, so the Olympus Trip became my first 35mm camera. It had its own little case and proper flash on top and again it came with me everywhere and one of my best times with it was on a family holiday to Jersey, the first time where I actually started to look at what I was taking, using composition, lighting and even the rule of thirds, I was 17 and felt like a real photographer!
In the next article I will move onto my first SLR and how I actually got a job as a photographer so please stay tuned for the next instalment.
New addition coming to Blog Soon will see articles appearing on Blog on various topics relating to photography.
Some ideas I have are a few on some famous photographers as well some very well known images. I will also be doing a little background on my own photographic story from when I got my first pocket 110 film camera all the way to my current DSLR.
Adding in some photographic equipment advice and reviews and I hope the new addition to the Blog/Website will give it a new dimension.