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.