Why did I get into photography?
As I was growing up, my dad was into photography, his passion was planes and architecture. When we were on holiday, he was always pointing the camera at a building of some description & mum would have to suggest to him that he ought to record that we were all there on holiday with him, and it wasn't all about the buildings, so he got her a little instamatic camera, all the photo's she took had our heads partially chopped off; she wasn't really interested in taking the photo's, so me being the eldest got to have a play too. Then as I got older I was bought my own instamatic camera to record the holiday myself.
I never really thought much about what I was doing with the camera, it was point & shoot, but I did have to consider whether the image I was about to record was one I wanted as all cameras back then were film cameras, and film was expensive to buy and get processed.
It wasn't until I left home & I met someone at work, that photography started to come more to the forefront as he was interested in photography and had a 'proper' camera with manual settings and interchangeable lenses. This was all a bit 'grown up' for me but I got to experiment a little with the camera, and started to build a fascination with it, then digital hit the world, After a few years of digital being around it was obvious that it was here to stay, so I got my first digital - another point and shoot, but once I realised the power of digital I moved onto a hybrid camera, and was able to start playing with some of the semi manual settings, it wasn't long before I decided that that too was too limiting and I moved on to a full DSLR, then my passion really took off, the possibilities that were now open to me were endless.
About the same time I developed a fascination for family history - what was my families history, who were my ancestors. One occasion we were round and my grandmothers & I asked a few questions about our ancestors, and she pulled out a huge box filled with old photographs of relatives. I was shocked at the quantity and that there were few people there that I recognised.
This got me even more interested as they all seemed to have a story to tell, and I wanted to know what their stories were. Having so many of my ancestral images helped bring the past to life for me, and I soon realised that they were very precious to me, and that so many people don't have images of their past relatives who were a part of their lives, I wanted to ensure that that never happened to my family.
As technology has developed, in particular access to cameras (nowadays a camera is a standard bit of kit on any smart phone), the idea that future generations won't have images of their ancestors seems absurd, yet if you look at the types of images being stored on social media for example, how many of them are what we'd like our future families to see and remember us by?
If you go onto the internet and search for one of your ancestors names, if you're lucky you can find an image someone has uploaded of a person who is a part of your family history, maybe someone you've never even heard of, who they have found through their own research, or maybe they're in a newspaper or other publication for doing or participated in something, so you can keep that for your own family archive.
If in another 100 years time someone does that on your name what will they find? Is it something you'd want them to remember you by? What do you think they'd think of you based on that one image they find?
Because photography is so accessible nowadays we take it for granted that we can take an image of anything at anytime & play around with it using various apps that are available - add bunny noises, ears to a portrait, distort your face, etc, but for an image to last through the generations and tell a story about your life at the time it was taken is a different type of image, and one that you can't take on a phone.
I was amazed by the variety of photographs I found of my ancestors when I started to look through old photo's my nan had got stored in a box in her spare room. Such a rich tapestry of images, people I'd never even heard of until the box appeared! Now I treasure them so much, especially as I now know about the lives they lived, the hardships they endured, the successes they had, for me I can see their story's in their pictures, and I want to ensure that other families have that for their future families to treasure.
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