I grew up on the edge of the West Midlands conurbation but, unlike most of my schoolmates who spent their time around town, I preferred to spend large parts of my weekends heading out into the South Staffordshire countryside armed with my father’s Fuji ST801 35mm camera, taking photos wherever I could.
I caught the photography bug from my father. Prior to the Fuji he had a Russian built camera which, if my memory serves me correctly, was a Zenit. The thing that fascinated me the most was the light meter that he kept in a weathered brown leather pouch. Family snaps were always a labour of love which took two or three minutes to compose. As a child, you would have thought that my attention span would have led to lots of tantrums every time the camera came out! It didn’t though, because the light meter trumped everything, I was obsessed by it!
At home, my father would let me play with the meter. I would point it in various directions and watch the needle flit up and down as it moved from light to dark. Of course, at the age of five, I had no idea what it did.
Eventually in my early teenage years, the Fuji became mine. I took it everywhere I could. I was still too young to really understand it. All I knew was that if the little red light in the viewfinder was smack bang in the middle, I was going to be on the front cover of the next National Geographic magazine!
During the mid-nineties, I spent four years at University. I continued to use the Fuji with varying results. However, as a cash strapped student, buying camera film and paying for processing only to reveal a couple of mediocre images, effectively put an end to my interest in photography.
Then, in 2000, I got a job in Gloucestershire which involved travelling around the Cotswolds, and the Forest of Dean. As part of the job I was given a 1.25 mega-pixel Epson PhotoPC 700 digital camera. I’d heard of digital cameras, but up to this point had no idea what they were or how they worked. It’s fair to say that the fascination with photography returned with a passion and the little Epson did more work, out of work, than in!
Since those early days with the Epson camera, I have had various cameras from Fuji, Nikon and Canon, from point and press, to bridge, to DSLR (back to bridge for a very short time) and then back into the real world of DSLR again. The world of digital photography moves quickly and expensively if you have the cash! For now, I’m using Canon equipment and am very happy with it.
In April 2018 my wife and I moved to West Worcestershire a stone’s throw from the Herefordshire border. It is a beautiful part of the world full of friendly people with a thriving community spirit. The landscape has invigorated me again to pick up my camera and invest some time in taking my photography to the next level.
I have saved hard and purchased a lot of equipment, but there are two pieces left that remain elusive to my goal of shrugging off the rat race and becoming a full time photographer: A full frame DSLR camera of sufficient quality and a zoom lens equally of sufficient quality. My plan is to buy a second hand Canon 5D mark iv DSLR and a Canon 100-400mm EF-L lens. This equipment will allow me to expand my repertoire to include portrait and wildlife photography respectively.
I have a website: www:jsuttonphotography.co.uk which is my window to the world and I am about to expand into selling large print canvases which again, I hope shows you that I am actively seeking to realise my dream.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.