DSC_1494Summer 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.
img097The 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…

img070 img063 img974 img970 img957img059img049 img955 img978 img048 img034 img028 img026 img019img018Sorry, Mr Jones….


  1. polarbearplease

    Ah, shite. You WERE born with a natural ability…. Clearly. I still haven’t opened the ‘beginners guide to photography’ book. I don’t really want to know the rules. I’m not much of a rule follower…. Though I do wish I had listened properly when a great friend tried to teach me what to do when I shoot into the light.

    Keep breaking the rules, please. X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CreatureLaurie

    Love these photos! Just figuring things out myself like you were in the beginning. Most of the time my favourites are the ones where I have no idea what settings I should use and take a guess. A friend did find me a battery for my Ricoh so now the light metre works and I hopefully won’t get as many underexposed mistakes. I think I like the slightly overexposed look, going to have to keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I’m not going to cliché this with one of those “there’s hope for me yet” lines…..but it’s refreshing to know you weren’t always a photographic genius….although I do really like the car picture…! Self taught or not…I still need to come along for some lessons though!


  4. Stephen

    What 80 on the M6… can’t do that anymore, your lucky to do 50 with all the traffic 🙂 In 1986 I was driving for a living up and down the UK.. Photography was not on my mind at this point in time. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. ” … I wanted to be David Bailey or Bob Carlos Clarke and get all the girls. I did not get all the girls. ”
    Haha my favorite part! 😀

    I don’t know, but it’s funny that even when I look back on my photos that I took back when I was 8 and such, there’s such a nostalgia and awe in those technically wrong photos, that I can’t find in recent work.

    I started with a Ricoh KR5 Super and then started using my parent’s Canon F1-n. Always used one lens the fifty-nifty. I think that’s why my composition developed.

    Nice post though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, the OM10, what a beautiful camera, so natural in the hand. Mine had a manual converter, a rather bizarre looking wart plugged into the jack socket by the lens. I also had an OM40, well used but a propensity to eat batteries. Love the picture of your telly, I’ve got a few of those in my early shots too. Going through my sons discarded photos recently he also had a collection of TV still-life? Just goes to show, we photograph the things we love…


  7. Fantastic memories – thanks for sharing, Phil. My first serious camera was a Ricoh KR-10 Super. Later a Caanon EOS 630. I paid $600 for that, duty-free. I sold it long ago but recently bought another for old times sake – $15 this time. Thanks again – great stuff.


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