I first got into photography in when I was about 16. An attack on an immigration centre housing mainly Vietnamese people led to several nights of xenophobic rioting in my hometown Rostock. This was followed by similar attacks against foreigners in other parts of Germany. These scenes made Rostock a synonym for a new breed of Nazis for years to come, even though the rioters represented only a tiny minority of the local people.
As a result money was made available to provide meaningful activities for young people. One of the courses funded through this programme was a beginner’s photography group.
As is often the case with such programmes, the youngsters who participate are not necessarily the ones that were meant to be reached. I wasn’t really aware of that at the time and enjoyed the opportunity of joining the group. We were taught to use a manual SLR camera, went on trips around Rostock and the surrounding countryside and developed our own black and white pictures in a dark room.
In those days I used a manual Praktica single-lens reflex (SLR) camera and learnt all the basics of exposure, aperture, shutter speed and using different lenses to achieve different results. My main interests were taking landscape pictures and portraits of people with a zoom lense when they were unaware of the camera.
After graduating from uni I started working full time. My first large purchase with my own money was an automatic Canon EOS 300 camera which I loved and used heavily for five or six years. I had a small exhibition with landscape pictures at my university, was asked by a friend to do her wedding pictures and generally got very positive feedback for my pictures.
A few years after I moved to London, digital cameras took over and developing pictures from films seemed to be slow and expensive. My priorities at that time were completing my Masters and surviving in a very expensive city. So I pretty much stopped using my old camera and used other people’s compact digital cameras for holiday snaps and family pictures.
A few weeks ago I bought a Canon EOS 600D digital SLR camera. I am very excited about this purchase and look foward to reconnecting with my passion for photography. Buying another Canon product was an easy choice as I had always been very happy with the functionality and quality of the EOS 300. Initially I thought that the lense from my old camera would be compatible but then I realised that time and technology had moved on and this would only work with the manual settings. So I purchased the standard 18-55mm lense as well as a 55-250mm zoom lense which is much better for close ups and portraits.
I look forward to exploring London with new eyes and am planning to publish some of the results on the blog. Watch this space!