My first memories of photography, like so many people, are of the family photos. Unlike most family photographs mine were more artistic in nature. I recall my fathers two-and-a-quarter-inch bellows camera with an offset viewfinder, but it was the product of that camera, my father’s eye, and his darkroom skills that set our family photos apart. Not a photographer by trade but a conservator, his profession required documenting, recording, and archiving the restoration work he had been doing for the museums that employed him. This afforded him access to film, a darkroom, and a unique set of skills in producing archival-quality photographic prints and our family photos.
I don’t recall whether it was truly the first photograph I took, and it’s very unlikely that it was, but it sticks in my mind all the same. There was an open day at the museum for children to make a pinhole camera, run by my father. I recall it being little more than a tin can and some cardboard held together with tape. The can was loaded with photographic paper and after a lesson in how light travels through the hole without a lens we went outside to take our one single picture.
As I grow through my teenage years the focus on photography waxed and wained until the opportunity arose to move to a school that taught it and I jumped at the chance. Very few people got the option to study GCSE and A-Level photography during a normal education. I lived halfway between my old school and the new one, with a thirty-minute bus ride either way, I would lose some friends but get to do something I loved. I finished school with qualifications in Design and Technology, Maths, and Photography. With places at multiple universities to study topics covering all three I was at another crossroads in my life, it was ultimately my mother who told me to follow my heart and continue photography at university.

Photo by Joel Naren 

  • Origins
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Wye Valley Railway
  • Caerleon