“I could never be interested in still photography. It requires absolutely no skill other than pointing the camera at the subject and pressing the button”.
Yes, I said that.
I was twelve years old at the time and had recently saved up and bought my first super 8 movie camera and projector. At $15 a pop for 3 minutes of film and processing I would sit with friends and work out what we were going to shoot and what story it would tell.
I knew what creativity was, I thought. And if you could not create, I saw no point to it.
That same year I decided to start oil painting. I chose a religious theme and painted Moses coming down the mountain with the Ten Commandments. When I was finished I was absolutely devastated.
I looked at the paintings of great artists like Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci and felt the pain of being a failure. I decided then and there that painting was obviously not something I could do.
A few years later, when I was sixteen, a friend purchased a single lens reflex camera. Despite my original misgivings about photography, I found myself becoming interested. I discovered that there was more to it than just pointing the camera and taking the photo.
Noting my new preoccupation with the subject, my dad offered me his Agfa Silette, an old German camera he had received for his 21st birthday. Immediately I began experimenting with long exposures, light painting and off camera flash.
The one thing that became evident to me over the following years is that the level of technique to be learned seemed to be never ending.
But that is a good thing. Though my attitude to photography had changed, my respect for aquiring skill and quest for perfection had not.
Even today I am often confronted by those who think that acquiring and developing skill is something that gets in the way of the artistic process.
On the contrary, it is our understanding of the theory and techniques of the craft that develops and sharpens the minds eye to see things the untrained eye cannot. It is what allows the artist to see the world differently from others. It is what gives birth to vision and the ability to bring that into existence.
Photography, then, has been an ongoing journey. One I am committed to because when I create for you I want it come from the very best of me.
I'm Chris Fawkes and I create limited edition art.