When I was 10, I was given a Kodak Instamatic loaded with black and
white film. It had a slider for different weather conditions and a
little square hole to look through. The shutter release was a flat,
The only picture I remember taking with it was of a friend, Liz, in the
back garden of the house where I lived with my mother and my father’s
aunt. The house was in Orkney but it was named after a hill in
Birkenhead; Liz was on my scooter, on the path outside the kitchen
window. I haven’t seen that photograph for more than 30 years now but I
can still picture it in my mind’s eye.
Since then, I’ve had many cameras and, slowly, I have got better at
using them. I went to Glasgow University and got a degree in English and Film & Television Studies. Mostly, I have worked in the media, moving ever further away from the bits where I actually produced something.
Along the way, I have been paid (small sums of) money to take
photographs and I have won the occasional prize in competitions with
pictures that Barthes would no doubt dismiss as relying upon “surprise”
for their impact.
As I got older and older, I began to realise that I wanted to do more than take a couple of good,
unrelated pictures a year. When I was newly fifty, I signed up for The Art of Photography. And now, 3 years later, I’m finishing off Context and Narrative while making a start on Identity and Place.
I still take photographs (and I still enjoy taking photographs) but maybe the reasons why are changing…