The Photographer, Then & Now

Gordon Portrait, Albert Edward

The Photographer Then & Now

I love to witness people and places. And I love to tell stories with images.

My journey with photography began in grade 7 which, oddly, wasn’t a great experience. I shot a whole roll on an SLR camera (single lens reflex) and not one shot turned out. I can still remember how deflated I felt when I discovered that my film was completely blank. And embarrassment, too, when my teacher made fun of my attempt. I wandered away thinking that photography was beyond me and that I just wasn’t smart enough.

But through a series of films connected to the art of photography and my own desire to document my experience and express myself, my passion for photography grew with each roll I shot. Still fearing the SLR from my first shoot, though, I used a point-and-shoot camera for several years after my harsh introduction. In hindsight, the point-and-shoot camera freed me up to concentrate more on style and composition rather than the more technical aspects of photography.

Years later, I found myself in a camera store looking for a camera for a big trip that I had planned (travel being one of my other guiding lights) and the salesman, knowing I was interested in the art of photography, pointed me in the direction of the dreaded SLRs. My first reaction was, no, I’ll go with something simple, something I understand.

Ever the good salesman and photo enthusiast, though, he persisted and asked me for 15 minutes of my time to show me the basics of shooting with a fully manual camera. He said that, after his quick lesson, if I still thought it was beyond me, then no worries, we could strike the SLRs from my wish-list.

No doubt you have surmised that I walked out of the shop with an SLR, a Pentax K1000 to be precise, a rugged piece of kit that took some mighty fine pictures in some pretty tough locations. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Countless shots later, and a very long stream of people and places on the other end of my lens, I land here with some select images from that long wonderful journey. And the best part is I think I’m just getting started.

Gordon Ross