My photography inspiration is both the most mundane and yet the most wonderful. I’ve never studied photography, I don’t have a degree or certificate in photography or creative art of any kind. I’ve only recently begun regularly reading photography magazines and making an effort to explore other people’s photography. What drew me to photography and encouraged me to pick up a camera was simply my family.
Many of my earliest memories are not from the point of view of my eyes. They’re of the Super 8 films of myself as a small child, running around at family gatherings or group camping trips. Most of these were taken by my grandfather, who hefted a heavy camera around to all events, then edited the footage into family films. As the years passed the Super 8 camera gave way to a modern video camera with sound, and my Pop’s camera bag was filled with the little video cassette tapes the camera took. We still have most of those films, transferred by my grandfather onto video, and then onto DVD, although sadly some were lost to the fragile media. My parents and my uncle often had a film camera in hand as well, and between us all we have shelves of photo albums with photos dating back decades. Every now and then at a family dinner, someone would suggest putting a family film on, or we’d drag out a photo album and pore over it, my elders sharing the tales behind the images. These are some of the first times I felt a part of something special; this group of people shared so much, being family, and I belonged.
When I was old enough, I started getting behind the camera myself. I wanted to continue the tradition of capturing the special times for prosperity, to pore over the photos with my own kids one day. I was lucky enough to be given a polaroid, and I went to town with photos of family and friends and the occasional cool thing that caught my little eye. I also got behind the video camera, loving capturing the sound of people’s voices and the energy of their movements; how they waved, how they delivered the big camera cheesey grin.
At some point the polaroid died and I think I inherited a small film point and shoot camera when my parents bought themselves a better one. Either way, one way or another, my family kept me in cameras until I was in my early 20s, culminating in my first digital camera bought with a birthday voucher from my parents. I can’t thank my family enough for their support, and their patience, especially when at some events they probably saw more of a camera lens than they did my own face.
It would seem natural to share a photo of my awesome family, and I do have plenty of photos of them, but I’m no portrait photographer and I could never pick a favourite anyway, so instead have a little piece of my heritage.
My grandfather is Dutch, and some of our family, his brother and sister, still live in the cottage that my Pop was born and grew up in. The cottage is over 300 years old and gorgeous and fascinating enough to be the subject of its own post, for another day. This photo however was taken during a horse and cart parade that went right by the cottage, when I was visiting my great-aunt and great-uncle with my parents in 2010. I’d had my shiny new Canon 550D for a bit over a month, and had just been reading All About Panning, so I had a ball. I had plenty of opportunity to practice, as approximately 70 horse and cart pairs, of varying ages and styles but all beautifully done, went by. This is the best of those first efforts. There’s about a hundred technical things wrong with this photo, but then if I only ever shared the technically perfect ones, I’m not sure I’d have any photos to show!