Summer 1986, I was 16, my Dad returned from Saudi Arabia where he’d been teaching. I hadn’t asked him for anything, but along with the counterfeit Nike and Adidas t-shirts and bootlegged cassettes, he brought me a camera. This camera. An Olympus OM10.
The photo above was the first picture I ever took, thus proving that nobody is born with the natural ability to use a camera. I had NO idea whatsoever how to use it, all I knew is that I had to do my best to focus it, the rest was total hit and miss. But I took that camera with me everywhere I went, even to school. I didn’t join the photography club, that’s what the nerdy kids did, I wanted to be David Bailey or Bob Carlos Clarke and get all the girls. I did not get all the girls.
So I’m your classic ‘self-taught photographer’, I just went out and took photos, nobody taught me any of the rules of composition, so even now, nearly 30 years later, I’m still ignoring them and putting things in the frame where they aren’t supposed to be.
The images below were my first photos, taken over a period of about 6 months and just 5 rolls of film (even in 1986, film was expensive!)
Oh, a small confession – the last image is of my friend Richard, he’s holding a Canon F1, a very expensive professional camera at the time. The Canon belonged to another friends dad. About a year after this photo was taken we told the owner that the camera had been stolen. Not true. I had actually been trying to take a photo whilst hanging out of a car window, travelling at 80 mph on the M6 motorway. Just north of Birmingham I dropped the camera…