An open letter to photography

To my camera: I like it best when we are as one. My eye against yours.

An open letter to photography

I see something that catches my eye. I see an angle I want to capture. Zoom in on a detail. White balance, light metering. Set the shutter speed, set the aperture, set the ISO. Snap. The photo is taken. I feel amazing.

Except I'm lying slightly here. I never just take one photo of one shot. I always take 10, on continuous shooting, just to absolutely make sure that I get that perfect shot. So I always end up with hundreds and thousands of photos. And often I can't bring myself to delete said photos. So where am I going to store them all? This is what most frustrates me about this art form. In its digital format that is. Capacity. Storage limitations. On memory cards, in the camera. To use cloud storage or physical? And having limited time to upload the photos that I've taken in my spare time.

I like to do all my photography within the camera. I do get annoyed at photographers who rely on post production to make their photos 'good'.I know how to use photoshop but I don't use it very often and will use Lightroom simply to store them and change the metadata (these are all at my university I'm not rich enough to own them unfortunately). So my access to post-production is limited. This means that its all about the taking of the photos with me, rather than any processing. So I have so many memory cards, full of images just waiting to go onto the computer and then onto the external hard drive. Time is an issue with me, and getting around to uploading the photos which on my extremely old laptop always takes forever! So I end up with loads of full memory cards- I can never find a blank one when I need it!

That's the other thing that frustrates me about photography- how expensive it is. Memory cards are expensive (especially when you need as many as I do!). Post-production programmes are expensive (hence why I don't have any). The photographic equipment itself is expensive. I had always wanted an SLR but hadn't been able to afford one. I did Photography A Level at college and absolutely loved it. Luckily the college loaned you the camera equipment so you didn't need to buy your own- I did buy myself a point and shoot though.

After A Level I was too hooked on photography not to continue with it. On starting uni I received some family inheritance of £300. I bought my SLR with it and I still use it today (6 years later) so its definitely lasted me well and felt like a good use for the money as helped me pursue my passion. I've always wanted some lenses but never been able to afford them. I have a tripod also which is my dads from the 1960s because new ones are so expensive!

After getting my first part time job last year, I was finally able to afford to buy a zoom lens and macro lens (both second hand). But money has always been a frustrating issue between me and photography as it is such an expensive hobby to pursue! Even just printing out your images costs so much!

But after all the issues and frustrations, I'm still hooked to photography. I've got to the stage where I will be out and about without my camera, and I'm still framing up shots and mentally taking pictures even though I don't have my camera on me! Another thing I really love about taking photos is it makes you notice little details and take in aspects of a situation or object which you wouldn't notice without looking through the camera lens. It allows me to be creative and try out different techniques!

I like photography because you can make people appreciate beauty within scenes which they wouldn't normally notice such as within macro photography. You can also capture the human experience, peoples emotions, document whats happening. And its great whether capturing the arts or as an art form in itself-as long as its me and the camera I'm happy.

I love the fact that photography comes in different forms. So I could be taking photos on my iphone one minute and capturing film on my lomography film camera the next. Or I could be shooting on my dads 1960s film camera one second and then using my own SLR the next. You can even do photography without the camera, using mere sunlight and chemicals. It's a versatile art form which comes in many formats and for that I love it.


Mary Strickson

Mary Strickson Contributor

I love writing, blogging and reviewing on Voice and other online publications, covering a range of topics but I especially love the arts, activism, film and theatre. When I am not writing I work as an events photographer and artist/illustrator, as well as running workshops in schools and the community, mostly with young people. I'm also a huge history nerd, have a History BA, Art History MA and work in heritage. I love comics, superheroes and anything sci-fi.

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  • Emrys Green

    On 21 October 2015, 21:51 Emrys Green Voice Team commented:

    A great advocate for pursuing Photography Mary :)

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