First of all, I called this site "Photographs by Steve Princep" and not Steve Princep Photography or Photographer. You see, I find it rather pompous that so many people who's only access to a camera is on their phone and yet they still watermark quite average shots and call themselves a Photographer. Don't get me wrong here, some of these phone snapping "photographers" come up with some half decent stuff sometimes and not always by accident either.
Okay, Let's go back a few years to the mid 1970s when I got to play with dad's Zenit-B SLR. It was his pride and joy but he realised that it was quite frankly too much hassle for what he was taking and he went out and bought a little cartridge film pocket camera which did him for years until the 110 cameras came out. This left an SLR without anyone to wield it. So I was allowed to use it and its stock 50mm lens. I was 14 or 15 at the time and this was a huge new thing that I could get involved in. I bought a set of macro tubes and a flash and thought I could photograph the world, in miniature as well as how I saw it.
My parents bought a few books and I chatted to the people in the local photography club which was run from the camera shop. I was amazed at the detail of some of the pictures taken with the macro tubes. Single flowers with a bee was my favourite. But I also was getting interested in finding shapes in buildings where the actual building wasn't really the subject, just the patterns that the structure, architecture or shadows created. I learnt patience as quite often, without expensive lighting, I had to wait for the sun or clouds to move to create the lighting effect I wanted.
After a couple of years with what seemed like a bullet proof camera, I started working in a builders merchant and started saving. Quite soon I bought a Canon A1, still only with the standard 50mm lens, this was now state of the art, at least it was to me. I was now using different films with different ASA's depending on what I was shooting and picked up a few clients in the building trade who wanted photos of their work, sometimes before and after they finished. This paid for more lenses and eventually the upgrade to the Canon AE1 Programme which I used for the next 10 or so years.
I built quite a good little client base working mostly for builders and kitchen companies with the occasional portrait thrown in. Unfortunately, in a house clearing exercise, my parents threw out almost every photo and negative when I moved away from their house to a place of my own.
For a while, life took over and my photography took a back seat, way back, like the back of a bus when you're driving.
Fast forward from 1987 to the late 90s...
After becoming a computer programmer and realising it was possibly one of the most mind-numbingly boring jobs on the planet, I managed to shift into IT support and actually liked it, which is more than could be said for a lot of other jobs). It was about this time that some very basic digital cameras were hitting the market and more to the point as far as I was concerned, were being given away by computer and printer companies. I ended up with a very low resolution HP digital point and shoot camera that ate batteries faster than I drank coffee. But it was a camera and I was once again shooting what I saw. That crappy little camera was brilliant. I could keep about 30 naff shots on a card and with some messing about transfer them onto my computer with its dual 100Mb hard drives!!! It didn't last long of course and the cost of the batteries soon out stripped the cost of film along with D&P so I picked up an early Canon Sureshot, the one with the remote control and loved it; until it was stolen from the back of my car one day. The insurance paid for a replacement which unfortunately Canon made slightly worse but it was mine and I was back out there again.
In 1999, we had our first son, Scott, and I realised that a better camera would probably be a good idea and ended up with another canon, this time a digital bridge. I also picked up a second hand AE-1 Programme too and carried on with my old school shots too. That little bridge camera was with me all the time, still eating batteries but now with a range of filters and some editing software I realised that digital was very definitely how things would go in the future. It was an exciting time but always there in the back of my mind was a nagging doubt that people would point, shoot and call themselves a photographer.
I have been told that my eyesight is on a slow but steady decline. It will never get any better, well, never is a huge word and we don't know what the future holds. In the meantime, I made a conscious decision to start documenting life with my camera which is currently a Nikon D3300 DSLR. It's not the best in the world but it does what I personally need it to do. I'm not so narcissistic that I only document my life, what would the point of that be? No, I try to look at all the aspects of living on this watery blue green lump of rock that we're flying round our sun on, spinning madly on our own axis and in the process, trying to survive. Everything I see and everything you see too is part of that life. From our home, family and pets, the amazing views in our beautiful countrysides to the sprawling metropolises where the buildings tower over us and many people live and work.
So I'll keep on documenting life all the time I can still see through my viewfinder. In the meantime, our second son is now on a media diploma course and loving photography. Without prompting he is, strangely enough, repeating history with close up shots of flowers and animals, he has a great eye for different architectural shots. I will be helping him as much as I possibly can with his work, if he lets me, I'll be adding his work here too along with a link to his website.
TO BE CONTINUED - SOONISH!