Last week I left you where I was pregnant and did think working in a darkroom wouldn’t be good. It would be around 3 years before I picked up the camera again.
Being pregnant for the first time was a busy time. We had no room for a baby where we lived, so we needed to move. Then not long after she was born we moved to Denmark. We were only there for 7 months, but it has to be said that one of my biggest regrets in life was not taking the camera with me and taking photos there.
When we came back to Australia I was around 5 months pregnant with my second daughter and then that took up my life again. Babies and home were all I seemed to have time for at that time, or so I thought.
I have to try and rely on my memory here. I think Klara, my youngest, was around 6 months old when I thought I would get some professional photos of them taken. I used a local photographer and told him I wanted casual images of them, nothing too fancy. He suggested I dress them in a similar way, so I did. They both wore denim overalls with lovely red knitted jumpers (sweaters) underneath.
When we got there I realised it was oil and water, really. He tried putting them in a lovely antique pram, but of course, they looked stupid because of what they were wearing. The overall look was bad. The other thing I hated was that I paid money for those photos and walked away with nothing. It wasn’t cheap and I was so disappointed. I thought to myself, I bet I could take better photos. I know now that I was very naive and I didn’t have the experience, but it was something that I could work on.
Now with that idea, I knew I would have to learn a lot more about photography and how to use my camera.
There was no internet but I soon found out from my local photo printing place that the local camera club, Ivanhoe Photographic Society, was running a beginner’s course. It seemed like it was the perfect thing for me to do, so I enrolled.
I loved the course and soon found myself enjoying taking photos again, but this time I knew more and could take better photos. My photography went crazy. I was obsessed again. This time, however, I had to do it while also being a full-time mother. That did mean I spent a lot of time photographing my girls.
As you can imagine I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of my girls. I just pick out three. These were taken with film and I’ve just photographed them with my phone from an album. Briony was born in 94 and Klara in 95.
The photography course lasted 6 weeks and I stayed on as a member. I loved going out and taking photos and soon got back into the habit of driving to places to see what I could capture.
I don’t remember how long after this but I soon realised that photographing my children with a camera that was all manual was hard. Manual focus made it even harder. I wanted a camera with autofocus. So I spent a lot of time trying to work out what I wanted. Another woman who did the course with me had purchased a Canan SLR but she was also having a lot of trouble trying to work out how to use it. I knew whatever camera I chose had to be something that I didn’t have to read the manual to work out. I should be able to just pick it up and use it.
I found myself looking at Nikon. They had a wide range of cameras but in the end, I chose the Nikon F90X. I like that it could be fully manual or fully automatic. It was sort of middle range and I liked that it used AA batteries, so I could get them anywhere if I needed to. So I purchased it along with the 70-210mm lens and the 35-105mm lens which I was told was good for portraits. I still have the camera and lenses.
I would ask friends and couples to come around so I could photograph them. Have fun with that kind of photography. I took lots of images.
It was good having the club to help me take photos, but after a couple of years later I realised it wasn’t for me. There were a couple of reasons and I am going to share them with you.
The first was because of the following image.
I did this image based on something I saw in a magazine. It was done in the darkroom by painting the developer onto the paper instead of putting it into it. I was so happy with this and entered into one of the competitions that the club was always having. Other people in the club thought it was great and very different. The judge slammed it. He basically said it was crap. I couldn’t believe it, just because it was different didn’t make it that bad. (I haven’t photographed it well and the background is white.) It was when I started wondering if the club was really for me.
Then not long after that, there was another competition for Urban Landscapes. I thought industrial. At the time a company had just put out a black and white slide film, so I thought I would use it. It cost me heaps and I had to send it to Sydney to get it developed. I entered it in the slide section and I won. I could hear rumblings that the image didn’t deserve to win. Let me show it to you.
I loved it and I know others did as well. I ended up entering it into another competition in which I didn’t do very well. I heard those same people behind me saying things like I knew it wasn’t very good. That did it for me and I was out of there. I pretty much left the club after that.
I realised that people were there for the competitions and therefore they were all competing against one another which meant if you want to learn you were on your own. I hated it so much.
I left and never joined another club again.
OMG look at the word count, I’m going to leave it there for this week. I thought we would go further but didn’t realise I had so much to say. Next week we can look at my photography journey up to my time that saw me leaving film behind.
Here is a gallery of some other images that I took during the time that this post covers. See you soon.