Enthusiasm for Photography
When I was 13 I was given my first camera by my godfather, a 35mm compact with detachable flash. I was entranced even before I ever saw one of my photographs actually printed out. Before I had finished the first film I had stood up in front of my class and shown them my camera and told them all how wonderful it was. I have one very lazy eye and for me the world is a bit two-dimensional, so photography made complete sense to me; it was poetic to capture the three-dimensional world and flatten it onto paper. I gained a reputation in my youth for snapping photos all the time, sometimes to the point of irritating friends.
I went on to study photography formally at college as a module of my media HND. Then I ran out of money (it is not a cheap hobby). It wasn’t until my late twenties that I could afford a really good SLR camera and my husband encouraged me and joined me in my hobby. 35mm colour film was wonderful. If there were minor exposure errors, the developing lab would fix them in the print which is a lot quicker than faffing with digital negatives on a computer at home as I do now.
We started a family and this promptly caused us to run out of money again – children and maternity leave being so reliably expensive. We photographed our babies with a compact digital camera and my hands were forever full of my children’s sippy cups, coats and mittens, not an SLR.
My husband adores gadgets and cameras and it wasn’t long before he had saved up and bought a digital SLR, the genius was that we could use the lenses from our old film SLR and I found this irresistible, so versatile, so immediate. However I don’t recall why I launched myself into college to re-learn photography. I did about three photography evening classes over the next two years, plus three more in graphic design. I had a blast. I thought I had found my vocation. I certainly found some great friends and joined a camera club.
Planning a Photography Business
Planning to become a professional photographer wasn’t really an active choice on my part, more an extension of my studies, more of an assumption, actually. The seeds of failure were sewn from the beginning because I just didn’t credit all the things that would hold me back. They say you can achieve anything you set your mind to but don’t forget to count the cost. I could have succeeded if I had trampled over my family.
So after two years of hard work, practice, critique, work experience, second shooting and little jobs done for cost it became clear I couldn’t continue to a real launch my own professional photography business. I think I saw this coming for a long time and I became miserable with photography because of it. My husband began to travel frequently for business and he was often away on Saturdays, which is the day wedding and portrait photographers work. This meant that I had no childcare. Also he is my IT manager, and I’m not allowed (a-hem, not able) to fix our home-made PC or network without him. Bizarrely it would break down more frequently when he was away. Twice it was out of action for a fortnight. I was totally unable deliver work to deadlines without the computer.
More problems piled on; my family have very active weekends and evenings and rely on me heavily for lifts and want my participation. And even more, at go-for-launch point I also desperately needed to spend £3000 on new camera equipment and software. So was it going to be worth it? No. So I stopped before I started.
Facing the End
It’s not like I couldn’t do the work. I did well, I won photo competitions and praise. There’s more to this story and I might write about it again but I ask myself now, have I “failed”? I feel like it. But actually I worked, planned, assessed, analysed, calculated and coldly concluded “no”.
It’s like I got lost down a dark alley. Part of me now hates my first love, photography, and to pick up a camera is like picking up a lead weight. So I hope by sharing this story I might be able to guage over time how I pick myself up and hopefully start enjoying it again.
I save pins of photos which inspire me to this Pinterest board: Photography – inspiring