Category Archives: Back in the day

Self Absorption

What is it with this incessant urge in people to chronicle their every waking moment, with each brain-purge shamelessly aired via blogs and social networking sites to a world the author believes is panting in breathless anticipation!
Why when I was young we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter. Nor did we have digi cams the size of a cigarette packet. We had pen and paper…and…and…we had to wait days for prints to come back from the lab. Like this self-portrait from 1978 taken while hitching from Sydney to Brisbane. Camera perched on a rock, delayed shutter. Yes I was shameless even then. And if I’d had today’s technology, I would have shared this within 30 seconds instead of waiting 30 years ;-D

Where did it all start?

Being in a certain fiftyish age group, I’ve started asking the big questions; Where do we come from? How did I get into photography? What’s for dinner? And with both parents passed on, it’s old family photos that help fill in some of these gaps. Dad was a keen photographer and so our family is well documented in that regard. My earliest memories of a family camera are the type where at the press of a button the lens would unfold on a concertina bellows from the camera body. The pleats of that bellows were just crying out to be poked inward by a pudgy digit. So I did. Strangely I cannot remember the camera in the photo below. The view-finder is on top and light enters the upper lens (the one I am NOT covering with my fingers) strikes a mirror and is reflected upward to form an image on a ground-glass panel. You can see that some light has continued on to pool on my forehead. What I seem to be doing, by covering each lens in turn, is working out which hole at the front is ‘making’ the image that I can see in the view finder. And I like to think that Dad both saw the dancing highlights on my face AND heard the whirring of tiny cogs in my head when he made this picture.

Portrait of the artist as a young man.