Once upon a time I lived a life without photography. There was a time when I had never touched a camera. It was not something that we had in our house when I was growing up. There was a compact film camera at some point because there are a very few pictures of my childhood but very few. There are more pictures of my family before I was born and going back a couple of generations. They are very interesting photographs but I don't know who the people are in them and there is, sadly, no-one alive who can help me with that. The pictures, while having very little merit in most respects, are a documentary of how life was. How people dressed. What they did. What they drove. Speaking of driving, I am the first person in my family who learned to drive or had a car. That may seem strange in this day and age but we were a poor family and we got by with buses and trains. That's by the by. Looking at those old pictures I try to imagine myself taking the picture. We are at the seaside and the men are wearing suits with a hat and tie. Or maybe a blazer with trousers and an open necked shirt. It's amazing how they look so dressed up for a day out on the beach. That's just how it was then though. The ladies wore their best frock and everyone looks happy. These days out were a real treat as holidays were not then what they are now. I have a big box of these photographs. All in their paper envelopes or loose in the box. None are in an album of any kind. It does make me wonder for my own pictures though. They are all on my PC or on two external hard drives. I hardly print anything these days. There is no doubt that having a big box of photographs to look through is exciting and is very pleasant. Much more pleasant than sitting in front of my PC for hours on end. They have also lasted well. It doesn't even matter that they are dog eared or scratched. In some ways that adds to the experience of looking through them. I wonder if there is a comparison to make between books and e-books. I bought a kindle when they came out and used it quite a lot but here I am now back with books. I just prefer the whole book experience. I also like reading old books. Like with the photographs it doesn't matter if they are a little worn or tatty or even have that 'old book' smell. It's actually strangely comforting to know other people have sat down and read these books before me. So you have these wonderful old pictures which are, if anything, improved by their faults for want of a better word and I like that they are.
I picked up my first camera when I went to college to do a foundation arts course. As it turned out the two parts of the course that really got my attention were History Of Art and then Photography. We were told to go out and buy a 35mm SLR camera. Being short of money as I always was I bought a used Zenit E with a 50mm lens. It was built like a tank and it still works. With this camera I learnt how photography works and also learnt very early that it is what you do that makes the picture. Although there comes a point where the equipment can help in basic terms it is 80% photographer and 20% equipment at best. A couple of years ago I took a very old camera that I picked up somewhere and I took it to Scotland with me. It uses 120 roll film. It was basically a box with a hole in it. The only control it had was a shutter that was tripped with a lever and the shutter was actually tripped with what looked like fishing wire. The view finder doesn't work and you can't control anything. There is only one shutter speed and you don't know what that is. There is only one aperture setting and you don't know what that is. I took it to Scotland and I took 8 pictures and they all came out to some extent. A couple had light leak signs and a couple were a little dark but the thing still made images. It was so exciting when I picked up the pictures from the shop. This excitement I have with photography has never waned since I first picked up that Zenit E. I learnt how to develop film and print in a dark room. I still think everyone learning photography should experience this if they can because it gives you such an understanding of the medium. Digital photography relies on many of the same principles as film you just do it a different way. The basics are still the same. I still shoot film when I go away. On one shoulder I have a Nikon D850 top of the range digital camera with £1,500 worth of lens and on the other shoulder I have maybe my Nikon F from the early 60s or my Nikon SP rangefinder from about 1957. I get great pleasure from both of them. Well, I think I have rambled on long enough for one journal. I will maybe continue this story next time if you are interested in how I got from never having touched a camera to where I am today (if that's anywhere at all
Enough about me. Let's talk about you. It is about a month since my last journal and I have been filling up my favourites with your work. Man you are all so good. I love what you do so much. I also love what you do for me. Your support, faves and comments are such a gift to me. I am so far behind thanking you for your comments but I am getting there slowly. I never take comments for granted and I read each and every one even if it takes me six months to reply. I really appreciate that you take the time to write and, for me, it is one of the major things that defines this site. The feeling of being part of a community. This site must never lose that or it will lose it's biggest advantage over other sites. I must make a special mention of my good friend
who edited a dirty sky on a recent picture of mine as I couldn't manage it. I have thanked him profusely and I'm sure he is fed up with hearing it but once again, I am so grateful you took the time to help me out with that picture.
Now for your pictures. I think your work just gets better and better (as I hope mine does) and it becomes harder and harder to make the selection but I have done so and here we are again. This is a selection of my favourites from the last four weeks or so. I try to include as many artists as I can and I hope I haven't missed anyone. I love all you do and I love your passion for what you do. That passion drives me on and inspires me every day. You are all so wonderful and creative and kind and generous. I have so much love for you all. So please, take a moment, have a look at all this art and, if you like something and you have a moment, please let the artist know.
Thank you so much for taking the time to look through these pictures. I hope you agree that there is some stunning art here. I am always amazed at just how much fantastic art there is to be found here. You all amaze me and inspire me on a daily basis. So if you found anything to enjoy here then my work is done .............for today at least
Take care everyone. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Take nothing for granted for it all ends too early for many people. Spread the love and share your smile. Brighten up this dark world we find ourselves in. Only we can make a difference. So make that difference.
As always much love to you all.