Hello – I’m Andrew. I’ve just published my first article on Macfilos – you can read it here – and I thought it was probably time to introduce myself, as you’ll be seeing more musings from me in the future.
I’ve been a regular reader of this excellent website for a few years now – in fact, since I purchased my first Leica, an M8, and got the dreaded ‘Leica itch’…which I’m still scratching to this day. I’ve really enjoyed keeping up-to-date with Leica news and views, either through the informative posts from our editor, Mike Evans, or indeed through posts from occasional guest contributors like me, and through the vibrant comments section.
One of the things I really like about Macfilos is the diversity of experiences and viewpoints which shine through the blog posts and comments. It’s great to have one’s own viewpoints tested or affirmed from time to time, and especially to hear from fellow readers and contributors with widely varying experiences and motivations. Macfilos is also a community of respectful and enthusiastic photographers – something which appeals greatly to me, and which it’s becoming harder and harder to find online these days, to my mind.
Keeping Macfilos up-to-date with regular, timely and engaging content is no mean feat. Much of the heavy lifting falls to Mike, of course, but the truth is that this website can only get stronger as its community of readers and contributors grows and becomes more active in suggesting and creating content for us all to enjoy.
And that is one of the reasons I am writing this blog, with Mike’s encouragement, to spur on others amongst us, such as me, who are passionate about one or more of our shared interests, and who can spare a few minutes from time to time to contribute to this site.
You might well be asking yourself at this point, ‘What have I got to say on the subject which others may find interesting?’ It’s a good question – one I asked myself before putting digital pen to digital paper for the first time – and the answer, of course, is simple: your personal opinion, your unique perspective, perhaps your idiosyncratic view of our shared passion – in short, your thoughts.
For my own part, I hope to tap into my enthusiasm for Leica cameras, and my recent foray into the world of digital medium format photography, to generate occasional content which other readers will find interesting, and which will spark debate and provide enjoyment. I imagine, along the way, I’ll have to explain why I have owned, sold, regretted selling, re-purchased, and dreamt of buying, so many cameras and lenses – especially Leicas – over the past few years.
I do not profess any expert knowledge, and I would describe myself as very much a novice but enthusiastic amateur photographer, whose interests veer more towards the cameras themselves – and especially the haptics and process of taking photographs – rather than the end results. I imagine I am not alone in this regard. It would be great to hear from likeminded souls…and the not-so-likeminded too, of course.
I am based in the UK – on the South Lincolnshire border with Rutland – with a young family who patiently oblige when I ask them to pose or to stand still while I am focusing the latest lens to arrive in the post. I have an ever-patient wife who pretends to be interested in my camera comings and goings…and who surprises me regularly by asking ‘Haven’t you owned that one before?’ Or ‘Sold? I thought you’d just bought that one…’.
I like nothing better than ‘escaping’ for an hour or two from time to time, ideally with a ‘new’ camera, to head off somewhere quiet where I can enjoy slowing down and taking a few pictures, a remarkably small proportion of which I’m pleased with. But I’m getting better. Truth be known: I’d enjoy doing it even if none of them turned out to be keepers.
I’ve always been drawn to cameras for some reason – I suspect the haptics and an appreciation of the build quality of some of the models I have been fortunate enough to own. Looking back, my fascination started in the early 1990s whilst I was training as a young reporter on my local newspaper. My ability definitely pointed towards words rather than pictures even back then, but I couldn’t help but admire (and envy) the ‘snappers’ I worked alongside.
Our newsroom at the time was often littered with Nikon FM2s and, later, Nikon D90Xs. It prompted me to buy my first ‘proper’ camera, a used but beautiful Nikon FM. A friendly freelance photographer sold me two used MD12 motor drives for peanuts – parts from which were combined to form one working version – and I was off. Nothing could stop me…apart from a lack of natural talent!
Moving onto daily newspapers after my training had finished, there were entire photographic departments to learn about, and always a kind and helpful bunch of ‘snappers’ who were keen to talk about their profession. Nikon F4S cameras were their weapons of choice, I seem to remember, and motor drives that could blast through an entire roll of 36 exposures in seconds.
Having worked as a reporter and, later, a chief reporter and then news editor, I began a career as a Royal Air Force officer in the late 90s, serving first as a public relations and communications specialist, before my career broadened into more mainstream military roles, then came full circle in my latter years. I led the RAF’s news and media operations function, including responsibility for our Mobile News Teams, whose job it was to accompany our personnel and aircraft on operations, capturing stills and footage which we could use online and for distribution to news outlets. I think maybe I was still a frustrated ‘wannabe’ photographer at this point!
How did you first get into photography? What inspired you? We (the Macfilos community) would love to hear from you: what interests you, what do you like to read about on Macfilos, why are you passionate about photography, why is the industry driving you to despair? You know the sort of thing. You can contribute either through the comments section of this website or, if we can tempt you and if this post has provided encouragement, through your own occasional guest post. That would be really great. Just drop Mike a line (at email@example.com) with your ideas and we’ll be in touch. And don’t worry too much if writing/blogging is not your forte. It’s your ideas and enthusiasm we are interested in, and there are a few of us who can help you to get your views across.