Thursday, September 30, 2010

I have to start somewhere ....

So..... my first blog page and my first words.
What does one say on their first page?  Something profound about how photography (oh yes, this will be about photography) has changed their lives for the good?  Nah!  These are my first faltering steps in sharing in a similar manner to other friends of mine.  I help people with advice when they ask me (and sometimes when they don't) and also have given talks and workshops but now I can reach a larger audience.
I'm not saying I know everything (some 'accuse' me of it) or that what I do know is complete but if my knowledge helps then you are welcome to it.

About me - the unlimited to 1200 characters version:
I was born in London of Irish parents.  Moved to my parent's hometown of Athlone when I was 2 years old and then to Howth when I was 5.  Went to O'Connell's school, the Pembroke College of Technology (otherwise known as Ringsend Tech) and Bolton Street College.

I started work in 1967 as a draughtsman, later to become an Engineer which was most of my working life.  I've had a range of cameras from a tiny spy camera to a Hasselblad.  The first camera I used was a Box Brownie before I was even a teenager.  Not only did it get me into trouble with some local ladies (another day's story) but it also, I suspect, created an awareness in my father that my addiction to taking photos was going to cost him a small fortune in processing so my photography at the time was limited.
My first 'real' camera was a Zenit, Russian-made.  You could drive a tank over it and it would still work! I became obsessed with sharpness and size.  This became a quest for bigger and better through a range of cameras - 35mm and 6X6 to a Mamiya 67 which I still have today.

My ability to take photos fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with my employer where I photographed everything from components for technical manuals to visiting dignitaries to the plant.  It was at this time I joined the ESB photographic club and had access to their studio.  I was asked by a very innovative group of people, called Take 4, who were about to put on the Irish premiere of Cabaret (think Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey) if I could do their promotional shots.  I said yes and went on to other similar shots and also portraits for programmes.
I also got involved with a guy who was grooming girls for modelling - yes, it does sound a bit dodgy but it wasn't!  My '15 minutes of fame' is probably that I started Karla on her path to fame and fortune.

After many years of photographing for everybody else I realised I was doing nothing for myself and stopped.  Cold turkey.  Took up other hobbies and interests until the mid nineties where I took the odd photo with a 35mm camera and then bought (out of curiosity and a penchant for gadgets) a digital camera.  Nothing like we have today.  It was the Logiotec Fotoman.   It was greyscale, the sensor size was 284 by 376 pixelsand it could only store about 10 shots and if you didn't get back to a PC to download the shots before the battery gave out then you lost your work.  It was regarded as revolutionary for the time even considering that it took the camera 11 seconds to store the image internally.
I kept an eye on the digital scene for a while and bought my first 'serious' digital camera from the US in 2000 - an Olympus C2100 which was remarkable for its time as it had a 10x optical zoom unlike the rest who were peddling digital zoom.

Since then I have bought more digital cameras - some of which I still have - and become more seriously involved in my photography.
I belong to the Dublin Camera Club where I have met more like-minded people who share their enthusiasm and their knowledge with others and are active in the club's programs and activities.

Since I mentioned my first 'professional' shoot in a studio was for Cabaret (1976) I thought I would dig out the old negative (6x7 cm), scan it and post it here.  I don't remember the details and there was no metadata on film cameras but I do remember that I would have shot it using a shutter speed of 1/60 sec.  I didn't have a flash meter so exposure was gauged by distance and experience.  I was also tethered to a flash head by cable and the biggest danger was someone tripping over it.  Still it was all good fun and I could savour that magic time between pressing the shutter button and seeing the negative where the image in my mind was the best I had ever done!

I don't have a Model Release Form (MRF) for this photo - we didn't really need them in those days! - and I'm sure the girls won't be recognised, or if they are they won't mind.  Sadly, the MC, Ed Brady has since passed away.  He is still missed even today for the talent he had and the character that he was.

Taken in 1976.  Older than some of the people viewing it!


  1. Welcome to the world of blogging! Love the photo too... even all that time ago it has a PT look about it. Look forward to checking in here regularly!

  2. Good man Ted
    Altho I think it should be called "An MH's view of photography" ;)