Friday, June 12, 2009

Photography: a New Challenge for me

In fact I had not planned this but I had so much pleasure when I took pictures* (see link below) during my running circuit that I have decided to do this more often!
The day after I took those first pictures, I went back to take some more!
This time from the part that is already history and that I run no more! (Until a few years ago I ran 3 km. more).
Now I have my complete running circuit of 9 km. on image!
I like to show you a few images of that last part! (Click on picture to enlarge.)

You must know that photography is something “new” for me although I am the daughter of two generations of professional photographers. My grandfather learned his profession during W.W 1 in Blackpool, England around 1915 and my father (who was born in Blackpool) learned it from his father. After the war they came back to Belgium.

Of course I know something about making and developing photographs, but... that was the photography from more then fifty years ago.
I can remember, my father used a camera like this (see picture) when I was a toddler.

I even have known that they used “glass platelets” instead of film. They also had to use a separate flash light, (they had to install it on the camera) and light bulbs to use the flash! For every flash which they had to make they had to change the light bulb!
Those used bulbs were very special and useful for us (it was just after the war).
We prepared them to decorate our Christmas tree! (On the link you can see the tree.)
We plunged them into glue and covered them with very tiny silver flakes (almost a powder) and so it became a very original and sparkling Christmas tree!
I think it must have been until around 1948, I'm not sure about that date because I was still too little.
Not so long thereafter came a flashlight with light bulbs they could use several times again (approx. 10 times max. I think).
They also had to use a separate hand light meter. They had to take into account that a moving object needs a shorter opening time than a stationary object and therefore they had to adjust the closure time of the lens manually every time the situation of the object changed.
In fact nothing went automatically!
I saw my father working in the dark room. That was a room with special red light, white light would have ruined the blank photograph paper. (We kids have sometimes ruined it, because we had put on the white light when the blank paper wasn't covered and so it could be used no more)!
First he developed the film and put it in a projector. Thereafter he projected the film on the blank photograph paper. It was fascinating to see “how” after been exposed to light and going in a development fluid the picture appeared on the photograph paper. The exposure to light and the development bath, they both needed an “exact” timing or, the picture became too light or too dark.
As a teenager I was sometimes his help and then I had to dry press the wet photograph sheets in a special machine, a hot press! (you can compare it with a big iron** machine in a laundry but smaller and not turning around).
In fact those days were the “middle ages”of photography!

And yes, I know “a little” about photography but now I must bring it into practice and I must learn to work with the new technology! I must enter the digital era! Once...I wanted to become a professional photographer but my father's opinion was that: it was not a profession for a woman!
So now: I am going to do it just for pleasure and.. practice...practice..practice !

**Iron machine: I don't know if it's the good translation in this context but it's not easy to describe it.

P.S: Excuse me, although I left out many handling's and details, the explanation about developing and producing photographs became a little longer than I expected it would be.
It gave me the feeling that I stood again in the darkroom, beside my father!

I hope that you had a little bit the feeling that you stood there too!


  1. This is exciting Fran! And it seems that you come by it naturally. I love the picture of the goat! :) Go for it, and have fun!

  2. I have so much pleasure in it Jeannie! Now i understand why Jen is so full of photography! Everything i see has my attention and then i study it in search for a good snapshot!
    Now i go walking with my camera in my hand!
    Unfortunate that the pictures in my post can not be enlarged!
    I must find out what went wrong!