I seem to be getting back into photography again. I've been selling computers and phones and buying cameras and lenses. And I'm not alone. I was in the newsagents today and there are loads and loads of photography magazines sprouting up.I think part of this is due to the availability of cheap digital SLR cameras, and also sites like Flickr which let you show off your pictures. Either way, it is nice to see, because photography is fun and with modern computer based technology there is no need to mess around in the dark with strange chemicals (unless you really fancy it). At Hull we even have a Hull University Photographic Society now, I'm looking forward to going along to some more meetings next semester.
I've been taking photographs since schooldays, when hiding in the darkroom was a very pleasant alternative to school sports on Wednesday afternoon. I had a developing tank, an enlarger and hands that smelt of fixer. I used to borrow books from the library about photographic technique and learn phrases like "contre jour". In those days taking a photograph was quite an effort. If you didn't have a light meter to measure the brightness of the scene you could use a little plastic calculator to work out the exposure. You gave it the date and time and it worked out how bright the outdoors should be. Then you had to calculate the distance, set the focus and finally fire the shutter. After a session in the darkroom you would get to see your negatives, which you would then convert into prints after another foray into the pitch black. Great fun.
Nowadays you just press the button. The camera decides what you are photographing, sets the focus and exposure accordingly and then makes a noise like old cameras used to do - just to keep you happy. You can look at the picture straight away, and print out copies of the ones you like best, with no darkness at all.
Of course, as someone who used to do everything the hard way, I think this makes it all too easy, but then again you can get nice pictures with minimal effort. I took the new camera and lens down to the marina and had a happy half hour taking pictures. Which I guess is what it is all about.