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Photography - intro

I have been taking photographs regularly since 1969, but I only consider photography to have become an obsessive pastime since about 1984. This website is about what I have learnt about cameras and about taking photos during the past forty or so years.

© martyn pearce

When I was eleven I was given a tiny black box-camera, called a Kodak Hawkeye Ace, and a 12 exposure roll of black and white 127 film to take with me on a school trip to Paris. It had a rectangular wire frame that was pulled out at the front and used to estimate what might get photographed. The results were awful but I still have them. The tiny fuzzy figure in front of the Eiffel tower was my friend Ken. I don't think that this first attempt at photography gave me any inspiration because I never used that camera again and I didn't have another camera until I bought one about ten years later.

© martyn pearce

The first camera that I bought was an Olympus Trip 35, a simple, compact, 35mm film camera with a 40mm lens, which I used for about fifteen years. I thought that a simple camera like that was all I needed until I picked up an SLR and found out what it could do. I immediately went out and bought one and have lost count of how many cameras have passed through my hands since then.

© martyn pearce
Olympus Trip 35

If I had to explain why I like photography so much I would say that it has caused me to appreciate my surroundings more visually. Composing a picture appeals to my artistic side as I used to draw and paint. Taking a photo appeals to my technical side because I like using technical things. A good camera is a technical thing that is made to be handled. It's fine to be able to tap a spot on the screen of a smartphone to take a photograph, but I think that to hold a well designed, fully controllable camera firmly in both hands, look through a bright clear viewfinder, compose the shot and then gently press the shutter release is a far more satisfying way to take a photograph.

You don't need to know all about f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, white balance and other photographic technicalities because a good camera can take care of them automatically to a certain extent, but if you do have that knowledge, you can greatly increase your chances of producing really good photographs, especially in difficult circumstances where automatic control is unable to produce the result that you want.

Having said that, I realise that a camera is not for everyone and that a good photograph can be taken on a modern smartphone. Although I always have my iPhone with me, I still carry a camera whenever possible.


All images on this website © Martyn Pearce

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