Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Year Zero

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Sharon Christopher, my wife, my partner and my friend..... 

Year Zero.

So why may you ask, have I chosen this time to start blogging? It's been almost two years since the death of my wife, Sharon. More than 10 years since we began our Events Photography business together and beyond that, more than 25 years since we first met on the editorial floor of the Express and Star, in Wolverhampton, she as a cub reporter and me as a pup photographer. In the same time, the world of photography has changed beyond all recognition. 

The Legendary Canon F1n 35mm Film SLR Pro Camera

When I first started on the Express and Star as an apprentice press photographer, my weapon of choice was the infamous Canon F1n 35mm Single Lens Reflex still film camera along with the venerable Vivitar 283 flashgun (Note the words "film" and "stills"). 

At the time, I was the only photographer in the entire department to be a Canon shooter and my colleagues, especially Mike Haywood NEVER let me forget it. I was surrounded by Nikon's of all guises.  Nikon FM's, FE's and F3's and even the odd F2 would pop up out of the blue. Off camera flash was still in it's infancy, with pioneers such as  John Arthur (Time/Life, Stern etc) leading the way with peanut slaves and homemade flashcards attached with lashings of rubber bands. It was then I began my love affair with carpet tape. I had yet to learn of things like Pocket Wizards and other remote radio triggers. They were still but a dream in the mind of somebody else's eye. If you were lucky and in full time employment with either "The Star"  (Wolverhampton) or the Post & Mail (Birmingham) you carried a Metz Hammerhead flashgun or a couple of Nikon SB28's in your Billingham attached to a Quantum Power pack. If you were not, like me, you made do with third party knock offs both to carry your kit and power your strobes. Either way both methods could and would produce beautiful light at the drop of a hat.

Those were the dying days when 35mm film was king and where the darkroom was the press photographers last refuge and domain. Legendary names such as Kodak Tri-X, Fuji Neopan and Ilford FP1, ruled the monochrome roost. Even shooting colour transparency was a luxury and a art. I never knew it at the time, I was having too much fun, to realize that I was part of a dying breed and witness to an end of an era, which kinds of brings me back to Sharon. When she died my past died with her and the only thing of use that remains from those days long past, is my trusty Vivitar 283 flashgun of which Shaz paid to be repaired on more than one occasion.

This blog is essentially about me starting over and charting my further adventures into the vast undersea ocean which now represents the world of event photography. Analogue is dead, long live the digital king and nature dictates that time waits for no man. In the five years that I have been out of the event photography business, event photography has moved on by leaps and bounds. Consequently I've got a lot of catching up to do, along with purchasing new equipment and relaunching the business.  Alas there are somethings and some people I can't forget, like my ole guv Johnny Johnson who both taught and tolerated me in equal measure and my beautiful, wonderful, werewolf toothed wife, whom without which I wouldn't be writing this blog now. 

The venerable Vivitar 283 Flashgun

My Vivitar 283 stands testament to them and their kind. Strong, dependable and loyal. This blog will be my attempt of making sense of the world and my part in it. It's about my re-entry into the multifaceted, multidisciplinary world of the modern all singing, all dancing professional event photographer. From lighting, posing subjects to wireless networking and the perils of e-marketing, today's event photographer has to find a way of doing it all.  Hopefully it will not be a journey where I will be travelling  alone but enjoy the company of others along the way and if in the course of finding myself,  I can teach others, well where is the harm in that? Like all journey's, mine began along time ago with Johnny and Sharon and a Vivitar 283 flashgun. So onwards and upwards! Small steps....

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