I have, and it has become so large in terms of prints and digital files over the years that I would now need a curator, to more effectively manage it.
So, where did the world get the great gift which is the ability and the technology to record facsimile images of our surroundings and have these available, almost in perpetuity, as a looking glass back through history?
It is believed that the first practical camera, called the daguerreotype, was built by Louis Jacques Daguerrein, a French man, in 1836. There is earlier mention of one: John Strognofe, who in 1685 following influence by the work of Artists, succeeded in building a working camera, but no illustrations seem to exist which might confirm this. Strognofe was reputed to have held the view that paintings reflected only the opinion of the painter. Photographs; the product of his claimed invention, although sometimes likely to be biased, nonetheless would be reflections of reality.
In earlier life, my interest in photography was sparked by a friend of our family whose infectious passion for amateur photography and indeed film making, struck quite a chord with me. However in those days, the only piece of photographic kit around our house, which I could get my hands on, was an old family heirloom called a Brownie Box Camera. Time and time again, but only when I could afford film, on my limited pocket money, I would take that camera to near by Dublin’s Phoenix Park, and click away to my hearts content. Although one had to wait until the film was developed to see whether the photographic handy work had turned out, or not; there was none the less always a thrill of expectation at what miniature monochrome pieces of art work, might emerge.
Rolling on the years and a Fujica AX1 35mm film camera, my own first serious piece of photographic kit, became the trusty recorder at many a family gathering and of many a holiday. The Fujica, with its myriad of settings, super quality 50mm lens and semi automatic facility, was very forgiving indeed, as I often fumbled a bit during the learning curve. At its retirement, when digital photography finally took over, the Fujica had left a wonderful legacy of hundreds of colour prints, chronicling a significant part of the life of our family.
The digital age heralded an amazing explosion of interest in photography, with a bemusing range of new cameras of all shapes and makes coming on to the market to service the insatiable appetite of an eager public for snapping. As with all new technologies, there have been winners and losers. Many an old style professional photography business has been washed away by the digital photography tidal wave. On the other hand, many new digitally based photography businesses have arisen, which offer an amazing range of very high quality services.
Some years ago, I enter the world of digital photography, having acquired a Canon EOS 35mm Digital Rebel Xti, and a short while later added the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS compact camera with HD Video capability to my kit. Two superb pieces of technology; which have kept me a happy photographic camper, ever since.
It is popularly understood that anyone can point a camera but not everyone can take a photograph. This is absolutely true. There is such a thing as the photographer’s eye. An eye for the compositional side of the photograph, which through the exercise of artistry, places each component which goes to make up the image in just the right position, so that the viewer immediately obtains the visual message which the photographer has sought to communicate; in one smooth seamless transition.
Some years ago I decided to sign up at the photo sharing site Flickr and upload a sample of my digital images. At the time, Flickr was a useful place to present your images and seek technical and other feed back from the diverse group of photographers which make up the Flickr community; a great resource. One of the first individuals to comment on my images was one: Lluís Vinagre, a keen photographer from northern Spain.
Indeed the hobby of photography brings one into contact with some amazingly creative people and in my opinion Lluís is one such person. In recent years I have followed Lluís work on Flickr and seen it go from strength to strength. The mini collage of images at the beginning of this article is but a tiny sample of Lluís impressive work. From left to right, Lluís describes as follows:
“Dong Xuan Market, Hanoi. Chance plays a vital role in street photography. Chance and the way in which this picture was crafted make it one of my favourites of the whole trip. After spotting this guy wheeling his flower bicycle along the road, I dashed and jumped into the middle of the chaotic Hanoian traffic in front of Dong Xuan market. As I was readying the back shot, a lady on a bike driving in the opposite direction alerted our guy and as he turned round I captured. I love the guy’s utter incomprehension as he realises he’s being photographed.”
“Takeshita Dori, Harajuku, Tokyo.” – Amazing focal point on one face in the Tokyo throng.
“La Antigua, Guatemala. Gabriela is 40 years old and lives in a village about 5km away from La Antigua de Guatemala. Every day she walks down to the city carrying on her head a 10kg basket full of plants; selling them for ten quetzales each.”
Great work Lluís. Keep that camera always at the ready.
More of Lluis work can be seen here.
Is photography your hobby? Have you got any stories about photography to share? Maybe you might like to comment on Lluís work?
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