My photo story part 1
My passion for photography was first kindled six years ago (in 2010) when I met my step father. When he came around one afternoon he brought with him a digital compact camera (a Nikon Coolpix p80) and said I could use it. My first thoughts were ‘wow’ ‘He’s letting me use his camera’, I instantly turned it on and started fiddling with all the settings trying to understand how everything worked. I first set the camera to ‘auto’ and wondered why the flash kept popping up when I didn’t want it to, it was this mystery that made me want to learn more. I had never even heard of I.S.O, shutter speed or aperture let alone how to control them.
I remember heading outside and adjusting all the camera settings to experiment with what setting was best for what job. I took my first pictures that day (that weren’t on a disposable camera) and I loved it. I ran up to my mum and said ‘look how the flower is sharp and the rest of the photo is blurry’.They both knew I was hooked right from the start, and it was around that time I began choosing my GCSE options.
I flicked through almost every subject and was getting worried until I finally landed on a page that said photography; I knew that this was going be to my focus, something that I actually enjoyed doing at school. Needless to say I chose my other two options by closing my eyes and opening the booklet at a random page, I got stuck with History and IT for my other two options….. C’est la vie.
A Chance Is Taken
The week after I had my first photography class and met my mentor Nour El Gourmari, he was a middle aged Moroccan man with black glasses and a black goatee. His first words to me were ‘How’s it going man?’ It was safe to say I liked him from the start. He was different, and different always means a new perspective.
My mother and step father knew how keen I was about photography and that Christmas I received a brand new Canon 550D. I remember it so clearly, it didn’t seem real at first. I later found out my step father sold one of his motorcycles to pay for that camera, it made me feel so honored.
That morning we went for a walk and I took my first pictures on a DSLR. The clarity of the pictures and complicated settings of the camera only added fuel to the passionate fire that I felt, and still feel today for photography. After that I took my 550D everywhere, experimenting with depth of field and the golden rule. Everything I was leaning from Nour I was practicing in my own time, always looking for new angles and possibilities.
The year after (in 2011) we went on a trip to Holland and of course my camera came with me,I was amazed by the symmetrical beauty of the canals and the structural perfection of the churches and windmills. These were all perfect subjects for an amateur photographer, eager to snap everything! It was at this time I knew that travelling to new locations and photographing the atmosphere was what I wanted to do more than anything.
In 2013 I passed my GCSE’s with an A* in photography and moved onto A-levels, again photography being my main drive. I also studied English and I.T with some enthusiasm. The first term of my first year I learned a lot of techniques in Adobe Photoshop, it amazed how much you could do with the software and how anyone can create a master piece with the right vision and knowledge.
Around half way through my first year we were called to an assembly held by True Adventure, a charity (founded by Mike Trueman) that conduct expeditions all over the world to help the less fortunate and explore new places. They came to talk to us about their upcoming expedition to Nepal and how they were going to help two schools near Kathmandu that needed to be painted and maintained for the children. If I’m honest I didn’t give it much thought at first (just another assembly), although after a while it grew on me. The opportunity to discover an entirely different way of life and help people who really needed it, was an opportunity that was rare. Not to mention the photographic potential!
With my parents on board, all of the travel costs paid for (thanks Mum & Alan) and all of the required injections. I was off to Nepal with a group of fellow students and staff. It’s safe to say I was nervous, excited and hopeful of all that was to come. Our first night we stayed in a hotel in Kathmandu (still the maddest City I have ever been to). In the morning we visited the Pashuptinath temple, then set out to our project site to help a small village school and present a gift to each child in the village.
Our second week we traveled by mini bus to Chitwan national park to ride elephants and observe the beautiful animals & scenery that the park had to offer, as well as the many quirky shops that surrounded the area. Nepal truly was one of the single best experiences of my life to date and the memories of that trip have continued to inspire me to travel. (Don’t worry about this short description I will be posting a lot about my trip to Nepal in great detail!)