Taking photos has been something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, but it didn’t become a driving force in my life until half way through high school, when I chose photography as my art-class subject. Our small group of pimply and angst ridden sixteen year olds was introduced to black and white film and hand processing/printing.
Wow. Talk about “defining life moments”… I remember that darkroom as if it were yesterday: the dim red light, the smell of fixer on your fingers, Morcheeba on the stereo, and that sublimely spectacular moment when you put a piece of paper in the developer and an image starts to appear in the red gloom. Slowly at first, and then faster, the indistinct blur transforms itself into a photograph. A real photograph! One that I took! Me! My own!
The three images below are from that time in my life. They are not the very first photos I ever printed but they have become, to me, a symbol of where it all started. I look at them now and I see many flaws, if I had to shoot them again I KNOW they would be infinitely better: exposure, composition, focus, everything. They were badly printed and are covered in chemical stains and fingerprints which are slowly getting worse with age.
But I love them, just the way they are. They are my past, a reminder of who I am and why I do what I do. On bad days I look at them and think that they’re not worthy of their space on our bedroom wall. And on good days I feel a little glow of pride at how far I’ve come since then, and think about how how far I still have to go…