About

It took me many years and a journey of more than 4000 miles to accept that, as a non-artist, I could nevertheless think of myself as creative.  I have never been able to draw or paint – stick men with large feet and spiky hair are as good as it gets – and I mistakenly believed that artistic merit and creativity were one and the same.  I feel a bit of an idiot admitting that in public, but I am also convinced that I am not the only person to have felt that way.  I cannot single out a moment when the light suddenly dawned but do know that it was the people of the l’Arche community in Calgary who showed me that I was thinking too narrowly, that creativity did not belong solely to the artistically gifted and that there was something creative in me that I should explore.

Reculver

Thinking back, I have had a camera since I was quite young – I remember my old disc camera and then graduating to film – but it was a chance remark by a friend that made me wonder whether this photography thing might be worth looking into a little more closely.  I signed up for a class whilst I lived in Canada, only to discover that the write-up in the brochure had been misleading and the course was actually for those who had a digital SLR.  Two of us sat there with our compacts, stubbornly determined that we were going to get something out of this.  And who knows, maybe we did.

Thanet-14

In 2008, my family bought me my first DSLR for my birthday – a Canon EOS 400D.  I loved it, loved the weight of it around my neck, loved heading off to one of my favourite haunts to snap away.  But of course I had no understanding of aperture or shutter speed and never, ever strayed away from the automatic modes.  I told people that I wanted to take another class, one that I could really benefit from this time, but there were obstacles in the way, shift work at first and then my own lack of confidence.  Still, I looked regularly at the Kent Adult Education website and noticed a class that might just be the one.  I popped back often until, just before Christmas 2012, the site suddenly announced that there were only two spaces remaining.  On impulse, I snapped up one of those places.

Knole

As it turns out, it was absolutely the right decision.  I finished the ten sessions with a basic understanding of some of the technical terms I had heard bandied around, with an ability to use my camera on manual and, perhaps even more importantly, a determination to keep learning and exploring and improving.  I also discovered that it was in looking at other people’s images, and in hearing what they had to say about mine, that I learnt the most.  They were moments of inspiration, challenge and encouragement.

When We Went To London-8

Since then, the learning has continued, both in the classroom – with Kent Adult Education and at Morley College in London – and outside of it.  Through those courses, but also through following a number of talented photographers here on WordPress, Flickr and elsewhere, by researching, reading and visiting exhibitions, I have been exposed to a varied and exciting range of images and ideas, all of which, I suspect, have influenced me in one way or another.

Scotney reflection

I started this blog in 2013 with some fairly grandiose ideas about it being a place for the exchange of images and ideas.  In reality, though, it has become a way for me to document my own development as a photographer and to share my images with my friends and family and anyone else out there who might be interested.  To those who have stuck with me so far – thank you – and to those who are reading for the first time – welcome and I hope you find something of interest here.

(Last updated July 2015)