Hello, and welcome to my photography blog, where I hope not only to showcase some of my work, but also to offer interesting articles, information and hopefully also inspiration for the budding photographer.

How did I get into photography?

More by accident than design.

I had dabbled in it as a child with an inherited Kodak Box-Brownie, a darkroom in my bedroom together with bottles full of poisonous chemicals and a contact printer, but it hadn’t lasted long, and who hasn’t had a digital pocket camera? but it really took off when a couple of years ago I decided to digitise (scan) all the paper photographs I had hanging around the place.

There were lots of them, boxes of them in fact, and some of them were very old and frail having been dragged through half Europe at the end of the second World War by forgotten relatives, the only possessions that were deemed valuable enough to risk life and limb for.

Left: J.Kirkwood, Darjeeling, India c.1925  –  Right: G.Brown, London, England c.1920
It was while I listened to the horrific stories my father-in-law told me of his experiences during that period and looking at them, these ghosts, that I decided that something should be done about them, and if I didn’t do it, who else would?

I almost felt it was owed it to the them in a way, to respect all that effort, to preserve their memory, because I’m also a avid flea-market visitor, and I’m only too aware of the fate of most of these old sepia coloured photos, they now sit in boxes, anonymous, waiting to be acquired by new owners, complete strangers, with no idea who they once were, or what they ever meant to anyone.

I understand the problem only too well though, because who does have the room to keep the sheer quantity of these type of mementoes these days? and it grows exponentially with every passing generation, everyone is suffering from too much clutter, and yet there is a solution, if it can be digitised, not only does it dramatically reduce the physical space needed to store it, but now on a simple hard drive it can be perfectly duplicated within a very short space of time, which ensures that everyone can now have a copy of it, and not only just the one person, it democratises our past and those important family memories.

Myself then, 1980.
I still haven’t finished, but it was while I was scanning in some of my own that I noticed that the quality of many of the more modern pictures just wasn’t the same as most of the older ones, not only had someone obviously had a better eye for composition, but I suspect that the pure expense of the hobby prevented a throw away approach to photography, something which most of the latter snaps all suffered from, and it was while trying to organise the thousands of selfies, which my two daughters were beginning to inflict me with, that it became clear to me that someone in the family should buy himself a good camera and start taking it all a little more seriously.

And that person was myself.

And I haven’t regretted the decision yet, because photography combines both the technical and the creative, and modern cameras are so good that it’s actually very difficult to take a bad quality picture with them, and if you can be bothered to experiment around with some of the manual settings you can start taking some very interesting pictures indeed.

But I haven’t stopped there, I’ve even had the courage to make my own tilt/shift, fisheye and lomo lenses with great success.

I thoroughly enjoy it, and this blog is just the next phase.

Myself now.

A little bit about myself:

I’m British and started out studying for a Diploma in Engineering from the North East Essex Technical College and then went on to gain a degree in design at the Kingston-Upon-Thames School Of Art, now part of Kingston University.

Later I had a workshop in London designing and making furniture for the rich and famous before relocating to Berlin, Germany.

Here I’ve had a variety of jobs including carpentry, translating technical documents from German into English, web design, including gaining a certificate in multi-media conception, although I now spend most of my time with photography.

© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2016