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Meet the Artist – for the ‘Picture This’ Group Oct 30 2008

Travelling New Zealand’s South Island was the spark which ignited the interest in photography. It was not the interest in the workings of the camera but the beauty of the landscape. On a number of occasions the New Zealand landscape actually did take my breath away, so shockingly beautiful were the vistas that opened before my eyes. Earlier travels in Europe, NZ and Australia were a matter of taking a snapshot of this and that, as you do, but no real love for the camera, nor any subjects. Except for an odd photo here and there, they were just a matter of ‘been here done that’ type of photos of me in front of well known tourist destinations.

 At one point in Europe I lost the camera which was not such a trauma but still there were occasions I did want to photograph things that took my eye. Money was better spent on other things than a camera so I decided to buy some pencils and a blank Diary to draw these few scenes I wanted to retain. I was far from a good at sketches but figured it did not matter because even if it were a coffee stain on the page the whole situation or vista happening about me would come to mind whenever I saw the stain. Over the following few years I was in Europe my skills improved and instilled a sort of eye for such details as light, perspective etc. I think I began to look deeper into the subjects to the spirit and energy which first, subliminally, attracted my eye. This I think flowed over later into my photography.

 In New Zealand what I wanted to photograph were vistas of mountain ranges, lakes, river systems and whole valleys that contained them. I think to capture what I found so awesome was to share with others or to just hold on photographic paper the majesty of what I saw. I bought a new SLR a Canon T70 which fortunately had an auto mechanism and I just started taking photos. I would have to say that, initially, I was more often disappointed with the results of the landscape photos as they did not capture what I saw, nor did they fit in enough of the view. The camera was good for photos of a tree or a house or a snapshot of friends but it lacked when it came to capturing the Majesty of the views, as say something like this photo of Mia’s as an example. So with that in mind the penny dropped and I figured why not take a number of photos and join them and I started to take photos not in nice neat panoramic rows and joining them but in blocks of ‘tangram’ shaped panoramas that more suited the scene I captured or a shape better representing or enhancing the subject – like this one below. I also used this technique for smaller things too like interiors of things like houses or tents or small scenes of tree enveloped creeks etc Say like the one following of the stone cottage and gravel coated dirt road.

 

From here it took off – I took thousands of photos of everything that took my fancy and my Canon T70 taught me all I needed to know abut the concepts of photography with the many experiences. Not just about the framing of a photo but the light and depth of field, using film speeds, shutter speeds, and all the things I have forgotten. Taking a number of shots over as much as say 180 deg to get a panorama meant I had to somehow compensate and match up the light of each frame so that each photo not only fitted into the next but likewise the light of each matched. This, my camera taught me at more or less the cost in developing as had I started a course at a photographic school. This became my style I guess and my motivation or inspiration to get that perfection by combining subjects with shapes. Well, eventually along came my daughter and having to settle down and of course things like photography take second place. One day I just stopped taking photos due to lack of time and of course money. It is better spent on more important things like family and a home etc.

 

As the years rolled by I did eventually buy a cheap digital camera and started to take photos of scenery from my cycling trips to record the journeys. It was not until much pressure from Mia (and I mean heaps because I resisted very much and she is so bloody persistent!) that I joined you all here on multiply and my love for creativity with a camera was re-kindled. I started to post photos, albums, photos of the day and looking at all of you and your photos my interest grew and grew. I started carrying a couple of pocket sized digital cameras with me everywhere I went and the skills from times gone have started to creep back in. I have not learned as yet with Photoshop or fireworks how to knit together shots as I used to, to create even bigger panoramas, but when I do you will start to see them here if ever I do again. Thanks for your time reading this and thank you Katya for the opportunity to share with you all – my friends here on Picture this. You are all a treasure to me.

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