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Bedworth & Exhall Camera Club, Local friendly club. Watch, Learn and enjoy all things photographic from this long established fully affiliated club.

 ARE  PHOTOGRAPHERS BORN? - By Catherine Wilson

Why does one choose photography as a  hobby, as opposed to the more practical,  more productive and  definitely  healthier , gardening,  fishing , or even cooking?

Or does it choose the person?

I once had a  well - known photographer brother-in –law who believed that real photographers were born . He agreed that anyone could learn the craft , but that the ‘born’ photographer had an instinctive feeling for it.    Don’t get me wrong,  he  didn’t believe that born photographers were always good  photographers--just that they had this special ‘thing’  -  which always showed.

He  joined  a  well known photo club in a large factory in  Coventry. He always won which didn’t go down well with the members, so he agreed to be handicapped. I had visions of his arms or legs being broken, and never found out exactly how they did it. He won again, then stepped down and became a judge.

As a child   my mother cooked for an elderly couple every evening, taking me with her. .I had to sit still and behave. It was the most boring two hours of my week day. Nothing to do and nothing to read but a pile of boring gardening magazines I found under some cushions .

I  complained –very  loudly-  but still had to go.

One day a neighbour left a  large bundle of photographic magazines for the couple to look at before throwing them out.

I picked one up – and  was  hooked.. Why?  I don’t know.

Those were the days when they contained few colour photo’s .They should   have  bored me as a seven year old.

We  didn’t  go  at weekends, and I couldn’t wait until Mondays to get at that special bundle. Mum was happy.  I wasn’t pestering her as she cooked.

.It was to be a  few  years later that I met my future brother in law and  learnt of his ‘obsession’ with photography. He   passed  on to   me his weekly photo magazines- and  there I was, off again.

I had my first camera at fourteen, a second  hand plastic (or bakelite) Coronet, ( Mum thought it was another ‘phase’  I  was going through.)

It  took  sixteen two and a quarter inch  square pictures. I  used  it  as often as I could afford film and processing at the chemist. I still have some of the negatives.

One day a few years later, great tragedy struck.

I left it on  a  bus  and  no –one handed it in.  

I   lived  on tea , cornflakes and beans for three weeks and  bought another camera with  the  wages I’d saved.

By then there was a lot of colour film about, but after a few dabbles with it I went back to black and white.

That was all a  long time, and a lot of photography ago.

I learned to process all films and transparencies, but my favourite  is  always  black and white.

I believe I have  what my brother-in law  called  that  ‘inbuilt special  instinct’ for photography, and whether I’m any good at it or not -  as long as the passion is there --it doesn’t matter a scrap.  

Catherine Wilson