‘Photography is boring’ he dismissed, as I tried to hide my shocked expression by looking out of the window at the fields whizzing by.
A few months ago, I was sat in a van with a TV cameraman in the middle of rural Leicestershire. (Granted, it was an unusual situation to find myself in.) We had a long journey weaving along the dark country lanes back to telly HQ in Nottingham, and we ended up chatting about cameras. Seems inevitable, really, doesn’t it?
I hadn’t dropped into conversation any hints about being a photography enthusiast. So, when I asked him if he started through photography and then moved onto videography from that, his answer surprised me.
He thought that photography was ‘boring’. Boring! (By the way, I’m not slating him for it – He was lovely and I learned a lot from him! Plus, his sheer tenacity and enthusiasm for his work was very admirable.) It just astonished me that someone who’s passionate about videography saw photography in such a negative light.
Now, I love both snapping photos and shooting video. (I don’t think it’d have been wise to train to be a Broadcast Journalist if I didn’t enjoy the latter.)
I eventually told him that I had a pro-level camera, and he couldn’t believe that I didn’t take my DSLR everywhere with me. My mumbling reply mainly consisted of feeble excuses about not having handbags big enough/it being too heavy/my kit being too expensive and therefore tempting for muggers… You get the picture. (No pun intended….)
To me, photography is a bit like therapy.
Anxiety often gets a hold of me, and the only thing that melts away those worries is having a camera in my hand.
Whether that’s my phone, my mirrorless camera, or even my Canon 6D.
If I’m concentrating on getting the picture, I’m not focussing on my fears and worries.
It’s been a long journey to get to where I am with photography today.
It’s been a ten year adventure, where I’ve discovered what good it does for me. Ten years of observing the benefits it has for my mind and soul. Ten years of transmogrifying and evolving and learning.
Growing in a way I never thought I would.
I’m uncharacteristically uncompetitive when it comes to photography too.
It’s probably the only area of my life where I don’t compare myself to others too much. I’m much more self-assured about my skills, and about what I need to do to improve further, compared with anything else in life. I’m not insecure about how much better other people are than me.
I don’t care about any of that, because I know how far I’ve come in the past ten years, and I know I’ll go even further in the next ten.
I’m in this for the long-haul. This isn’t some short-lived fad for me, it’s the only hobby I’ve stuck by for this long because I love it so much.
I think it runs in my blood.
Some of my Dad’s side of the family love their cameras too, so even though I didn’t realise it until recently, I think there lies my influence.
I’ve had a camera of some description since I was a child: whether it was a disposable film camera, a rubbishy 5MP digital camera, or a DSLR.
There’s always been a camera of some sort to hand throughout my life.
But it took snapping one particular photo to awaken my love for it. One photo led me to realise that I did indeed adore photography.
It all started on the floor of St. Pancras Station.
I was 16, and on a school trip to London.
We were on our way home, and our teachers got us to St. Pancras way too early.
So we ended up sitting on the drafty floor of the station until our train departed.
A cluster of 50 bored and tired 16 year olds, sighing and huffing more than Kevin and Perry, sat on a mucky floor in a cold train station.
I’d taken a little digital camera with me, but barely used it on the trip.
On a whim, because I was bored, I whipped it out of my bag. I took a blurry photo of the commuters rushing by.
And then, I realised… It was fun! I loved it!
The snap turned out way better than I imagined it would.
A hastily snapped photo is responsible for sparking a love that led to tens of thousands more photos following it. It’s responsible for capturing my heart in a way no other hobby ever has. That one photo is responsible for ten years of growth and enjoyment. Quite the legacy.
I don’t think I even have a copy of that photo any more, but it’s etched in my memory, and I’m sure it will be until the day I die.
I’m perfectly aware, and always have been, that I’m no David Bailey. But, that picture made me feel excited about photography. It inspired me to improve my skills. It drove me to immerse myself in it.
And I’ve never looked back.
What do you love about photography?