The Photography of Clive Rowley
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Well, I guess this is where I have to introduce myself and talk about my photography. For fellow photographers and those interested I will do some more technical bits later on. But I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I was very young, in the early 1950s, when I started taking photos with my parents’ Kodak Brownie TLR (Twin Lens Reflex, 12 on a 127 Roll). Then at about 9, I put a box out in the house for contributions to help me buy a camera. When I had about £5 I was able to buy a simple Medium Format, with 12 6x6cm images on a 120 roll, a camera called a Bilora Bella. As I said above, the history of my camera gear will be dealt with later. But I never entertained the idea of taking up photography as a career, and my work career took a different path. I
ended up as a medical doctor, studying and training at the University of Cambridge and the Royal London Hospital, and now have a goodly number of children and grandchildren.
As an amateur, I thankfully didn’t have someone telling me what I should photograph, or how the client would like me to take a photograph. But photography has made me quite aware of what is around me; I am fascinated by light, by shadows, by the mundane, and in trying to create something which is my ‘take’ or interpretation. So I don’t have a ‘style’ as such. It’s whatever fits. I was a member of the Society of Staffordshire Artists for quite a few years, but I always seem to come back to taking photos, although I am currently getting the urge to paint again. I like and admire all genres of photography, although I would never have the time nor patience to do wild life stuff. If something ‘dropped in my lap’ and I had the right lens on the camera at the right time, who knows? Never say never.
I seemed at one stage to be associated with monochrome photography, and was featured in some magazine articles, Mono Magazine (now defunct), Amateur Photographer and Practical Photography (all UK). My photos were also seen in 5 International Yearbooks of Monochrome Photography, Best of Friends of Creative Monochrome, again sadly defunct. I do sell some pictures, which helps to fund my rather expensive hobby, and I do do friends’ or relatives weddings, but shooting the people and activities rather than the classic ordered stuff. I always feel very flattered when someone pays money to have a print, and I able to sell small prints to be bought from this site, and I give details on how to contact me under ‘sales’.
I have hardly ever used a tripod (too cumbersome and restricting) and I love natural light, or light that just happens to be there (available light). In a makeshift studio setting I’m always happier with tungsten lights rather than flash. I’ve had several darkrooms in the past, but now find Photoshop more creative than moving bits of Plasticene around on the ends of florists’ wire. And I love experimenting, almost to the point of creating the bizarre (as may be seen in some of the galleries here)
Okay, What camera do I use? Many! I don’t even know how many I own. After the Bilora Bella, I moved into 35mm photography with a Voigtlander Vito CLR rangefinder which I loved. Then I bought a Canon AE1 as my first 35mm SLR. When I was thinking I should move into autofocus in about 2000, I decided I would change to Nikon as my lovely Canon FD lenses would not work on the Canon autofocus models, and I’ve stayed with Nikon ever since, and always think I now have all I need (until I have yet another brainstorm) and I can still use 50-year old lenses on my Nikons, and love to use them along with the my gorgeous Nikon autofocus lenses. And, of course, having said I would never ‘go digital’, I have done and nearly all my photography now is digitally captured. I keep promising myself I will get out some of my lovely film cameras, but it doesn’t seem to happen.