My Photographic Journey

Margaret Martin

My Photographic Journey

What are your first photography memories? 

My first memories are of my father taking our photos with his Box Brownie and of me, aged 7 or 8, winding his whole film on when the camera was left unattended. I did not know what to do next.

How did your interest in photography start and how has it changed over the years?

Though I always had had cameras and taken family and holiday snaps I did not become serious about photography until the early 2000s when digital became popular. I started with a bridge camera, taking mostly flowers, including macro. I then bought a DSLR. I learned a lot about using my camera on landscape workshops. I then went on to cityscapes, long exposures, night photography and looking for interesting details and enjoyed them all.

2016 was a turning point for me. I was becoming less interested in landscapes. Just moving on to the next beautiful landscapes was not enough. I had got to a reasonable standard but was not really interested in the detailed planning and early rising needed for those excellent shots. I wanted something different.

I had heard of Valda Bailey and a different approach to photography whilst on a night photography workshop with Doug Chinnery and it was in October 2016 that I went to the Cairngorms with Valda and Doug. They were using intentional camera movement and multiple exposure and their work was more about colour, light and form than representation. Even though the results were often unpredictable and usually unrepeatable it was a way of working that immediately excited me and it has been a big part of my photography ever since. I still take the sharp images that would be considered ‘proper photographs’ but I like abstracts and the more painterly look.

Quite a lot of the work I now do is more experimental, a response to the question ‘What if …’ or trying different creative techniques. I don’t usually go looking for the fantastic, stand alone shot but tend to work in projects.

My photography journey has been a journey of change, though none of the steps I took along the way have been totally abandoned. I like to be learning new things, not standing still and it is this that keeps photography fresh and enjoyable for me.

Name three pieces of photographic equipment that you would not want to be without and why

I am not really interested in ‘gear’ and I think there is nothing more boring than long conversations about it. However I do have 3 pieces of equipment I would not want to be without

My Nikon D850. It is the only camera I have ever been excited about owning.

My 70 – 300mm lens. This is the one that is mostly on my camera as it suits most of the photography I do now.

My Canon printer because, for me, an image is not finished until it is printed.

Where do you get your inspiration from for new ideas and new photographic work? 

For 2 years I was in a group posting a photograph a week and this helped me find inspiration in many places as I was always on the lookout for that week’s image. I do quite a lot of photography and there are few weeks when I do not take anything. Though I am not usually short of ideas, I am sometimes short of the skills needed to bring the ideas to life. I also find inspiration in discussions with other photographers, in work and talks by photographers, artists and sculptors and in books and magazines. Sometimes I find that the way an image turns out inspires me to expand the initial idea into a project.

When did you join Wokingham Photography Club and what do you enjoy about it?

I joined the club in 2019. I was already in a club but wanted to find an alternative that had a different view on photography and less wildlife. I think we have an interesting selection of speakers each year. I especially like the way the members get plenty of opportunities to share work, experiences and expertise on members’ evenings.