Dogs picture in black and white

Last Friday Night: Making Pictures, Telling Stories

Our Friday afternoon sessions give every member of the Switch zoo an opportunity to present something to the rest of us. We’ve had trips down the deeper reaches of 1970’s Blaxploitation movies and wacky drinking games, we’ve been through the hilarity of office sports and seen a real Katana. And every week they’re entertaining, enlightening, or both.

Then it’s my turn

Everyone here knows that I have an incredible ability to babble for hours, head off on unlikely tangents, and in general tire people to within inches of hitting me. Add a subject that I’m interested in enough to present and you’ve added the final pinch of tragedy to the recipe for boredom.
I’ve lately taken an interest in photography and thought I’d pick that as a subject. I say lately because I’ve wielded a camera for a couple of years now but didn’t take any pictures of anything interesting. I just snapped the world around me to make up for my appalling memory.
Then I met some awesome people who pointed out that there was a hell of a lot I was missing and it took me down a rabbithole. Herein lies the problem. If I start ranting about this with my colleagues I’d wind up trying to cram everything I’ve learned into the session. And cleaning up after someone’s tried to chew their own arm off is a bother.
So I used photography as a framework to tell them about my personal journey, using photos as a system for pictorial milestones.
It started with me filling a hard drive with photos of pretty sunrises and lakes and such like. That led me to believing that buying a better camera would help me take better pictures so I started accumulating expensive lenses. This was a rather circular path to nowhere.
Then, thanks to a darling cousin of mine, I was led to a course on black and white film photography. I wasn’t prepared for how dramatically it could change my perspective. What started off as my trying to comprehend the benefit of film over digital, a totally pointless quest, led me to realise that I should be attempting to tell a story via a picture.
So I took up film photography as a discipline really, a means that would simultaneously slow me down and increase my involvement with the craft. The more I learned about how to use the camera, the less I needed to worry about it and the more I could focus, in both senses, on the world around me.
And that’s where I am now, hoping to learn enough about photography to completely forget about it. Because then, I suspect, I’ll be able to start looking for a story that’s worth telling.
— Editor’s note: Ed won’t admit to any of this, but what he calls a tragic recipe for boredom had every one of us bumbling fidgeters glued to the screen. Debates and discussions carried on well into the evening, until we finally agreed that this was not a discussion to restrict to 2 hours. Next thing we know, we’ve set weekly calendar events for photography sessions at the office. Those of us who know nothing about cameras will soon learn a little more about how to capture stories from those who’ve learnt a thing or two through experience. As a complete noob myself, I can’t wait to dig in. We’ll keep you posted! ~ teri

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