Since memory began my Dad was forever grabbing his light meter, pointing it at us, and peering down into his Rolleiflex. We’d usually be in the middle of some important playing activity so the interruptions were endlessly annoying. The bathroom would be draped with rows and rows of negatives strung any which way across the room. As kids we paid little heed but we’d get very short shrift if we interrupted him trying to work in the dark. I don’t know how he managed with us swarming around but he produced a lot of photos.
The calls of ‘Hurry up Dad’ must have led to my preference for a rapid and un-technical approach to photography. I was about nine when I first used a camera. It was on a school outing from Broadstone Primary to a farm in Kingston near Corfe Castle in Dorset. Showing Dad my blurred images of cows and fuzzy groups of friends taught me something that has hovered over every photo ever since. These were so-what photos. I knew exactly what he meant.
What is a photo that’s not so-what? Probably something more than visual, more than words, more than technique. It must sing to me, maybe a brief whisper, maybe an almighty chorus. Always something heard within.
My younger sister and I learning how to share, or not - Sandbanks 1957
I’ve taken a mass of so-what photos. But I’ve also taken ones that do sing to me and maybe only I can hear the tune, but for me that’s all that matters.
I moved to Bridport three years ago after caring for both parents in East Dorset until their deaths in the family home. I’d lost spirit in the relentlessly disheartening freelance textile design work in which I’d been striving. In 2012 I decided to set up a Greetings Card company, TangoMang, developing the designs I’d done for Harvey Nichols windows back in 2006. Some of the designs are on the Shed Gallery website but I still haven’t got round to doing my own website. I’ve sold them locally but was delighted when a selection of them were licensed in Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. I love the idea of my designs flying around countries I’ve never been to.
In January this year, after an unsuccessful sales trip to Liberty in London, I asked myself what I really enjoyed doing, because it certainly wasn’t that. The very easy answer was walking and photographing. So the next day I went to one of my favourite local places, Powerstock Common, and photographed the whole of my walk. I could do this every month for a year, I decided, just for fun. The intention had been to blog my monthly record, but so far it hasn’t happened. I’ve got an awful lot of photos of Powerstock though.
Powerstock Common in May by Anne Reynolds
I decided I’d just take more photos for the pleasure of it, which is why when I bought a beautiful bunch of flowers from The Flower Field in Bridport Market a few months back, I was so entranced by them I spent the rest of the day photographing them all. Those flower photos gave me the impetus to join The Shed.
Since then I’ve done a few random photographic sessions for various friends needing publicity shots. One was for Linda Tazzyman and her beautiful new B&B at No.9 in Wimborne.
Bed and Breakfast at No.9 in Wimborne
Recently I had two glorious days taking photos for Guy Mallinson at his woodland glamping venture near Axminster. I stayed in the most amazingly comfortable and wonderful tipi and spent every hour relishing photographing this magical place.
Guy Mallinson's Woodwork by Anne Reynolds
Who is my favourite photographer? My Dad of course. But recently I came across the work of Vivian Maier. She was an unknown street photographer from the 1950s whose work was discovered at an auction in Chicago. There are no so-what photos in her collection. Each one touches my heart, you can almost hear them breathing, feel the air around them.
Fall 1953 by Vivian Maier
What would be my ideal camera? David Duchemin’s blog says it better than I could. But this little extract also makes me think perhaps it’s time I started taking the technicalities a little more seriously …
My criticism of the photography industry is in the way gear has been sold as a substitute of vision. It’s about the addiction to gear and the belief that it will make us better photographers. It won’t. However, gear is important.
This quote from another post of his sums up how I feel about photographs in general, about finding your own way …
We need boldness, authenticity, and the kind of imperfect, flawed, honest art that can only be made when you listen to one voice alone: yours.
Finally this is one of my favourite photographs. It’s of my grandmother and one of her many sisters. She was born in 1902 so this was probably taken sometime during WW1. It was taken in the early morning somewhere in Sandbanks. Apart from the fact that it’s my family, that it’s joyous, and slightly mystical, I’m brought up short by the lightness of the moment in that extraordinarily painful era.
Lola and Wyn Salomon, Sandbanks early 1900s