Before The Beginning

All journeys and stories have to begin somewhere, and my photography journey began in 2012, in freezing cold Beijing.....But before we begin, first let me explain how I got to there.

After finishing university, I did a bit of travelling, and eventually found myself in the world of banking.  I worked pretty hard for the next five and a half years, and spent no time doing anything remotely creative - that part of my brain became dormant, and was in danger of becoming extinct.  I had never been particularly creative - I sucked at drawing, didn't have the patience to learn guitar, and generally seemed to struggle to find a way of doing anything creative - but for some reason, towards the end of 2011, I felt I was stagnating, and the lack of doing anything creative was not good for me.

 

So I did what all sensible people do, and quit my comfortable job and life in London, to move to Beijing in the middle of the brutal winter it experiences, and with no Mandarin under my belt.....

 

It was a pretty intense jolt to my system, but it did the trick.  During my time in Beijing, I did a bit of studying, and just before leaving the UK, I purchased a basic Canon DSLR, as, for reasons I am still not entirely clear on, I decided that I was going to learn photography.  In Beijing, I did a street photography class, which included a bootlegged version of Lightroom (sorry Adobe...), and generally strolled around trying to figure out how to use the camera, collecting an impressively vast array of dreadful photos (the one at the top of this blog is from early on during my time in Beijing, with some rather questionable editing involved).

Taking bad photos is how you learn though, and I loved the process.  I am painfully impatient when it comes to learning anything, and yet for some reason, I was willing to put the time in to learning photography, and accepted that I would take a lot of rubbish photos.

Having left Beijing, I travelled to many amazing places, including:  North Korea (photo next to this text is from there), South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Australia.  I attempted to take lots of photos, experimented with angles, tried to learn about the technical side of things, and generally just enjoyed documenting my year away from life in the UK.

When I look back on the photos now, I smile, because whilst they aren't the best, I can see the beginnings of what I imagine is going to be a love affair with photography that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  There's no point in being ashamed of the quality of images I took back then - everyone has to start somewhere, and I'm sure I will look back in five years time on photos I take this year, and wonder what on earth was going on in my head whilst I was taken them, and why I had edited images the way I currently do.  At least I hope I have those thoughts in five years time - it means I will have continued to evolve and learn, which is one of the joys of photography.....there's always more to learn, and more places to shoot!

Having returned to the UK in 2013, I decided the only logical step was to make a massive upgrade to the Nikon D800, and that's when I got an almighty slap to my confidence - that awesome camera was very kind to immediately highlight all the flaws in my technique!  More on that though in a future blog.