A New Toy (or a Good Tool?)

Jul 26, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Creativity, Photography, shopping


I’m excited.  I bought a new toy.  A toy that, while to some may seem frivolous or unnecessary  (given I have a few already), will help fuel my creative passions.  And not just any toy, but one that has personal historical context.

When I was young I wanted to be a photo journalist.  Actually, I wanted to be a test pilot first, because I though being Steve Austin in the Six Million Dollar Man TV show would be cool.  But when I became a teenager I realized that, a) I wasn’t good enough at math to be a pilot; and b) crashing at high speed and losing limbs isn’t that great.  So next in line was photo journalism.

I’d always loved writing, from an early age, inspired by book reading from the age of 3, and comic book stories.  I still have one of my first books (a 1965 Thomas the Tank Engine), and I remember my first non fiction book (My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell).  I’m not sure what it was about photography that interested me, but I recall loving the work of Lord Lichfield, and the fine work in the stack of Playboy Magazines my Dad poorly hid in a closet when I was 8 was sure to have something to do with my desire to create pictures.  I played with truly old cameras when I was young, as that is all that could be afforded, most of which had light leakage issues which produced an effect now considered cool on iphone apps.

I worked as a paper delivery boy for many years, and saved, and saved, and at 15 bought myself a Pentax K1000, a tripod, and a 300mm lens with a 2x converter so that I could take photos of my friends surfing and skateboarding (my main sporting passions).  At the time, it was an extraordinary amount of money.

My first travel opportunity came very soon afterwards, when my Mum took me, my 2 brothers and sister to England to see our relatives.  We were there for a couple of months.  My grades at school in certain subjects were to suffer forever more, but it was time well spent as I got to explore the manual controls of this cutting edge camera, and be a creative kid.  I also got to go to a photographic tradeshow in London. I took a train by myself, armed with my shiny toy, and went to my first ever tradeshow.  I was the youngest person there, and I felt guilty with the number of photos I took of the bikini clad models at one of the camera stands, not because I was being a young pervert, but because film was expensive.  Looking back, the lighting was horrible, the girls average and cold as England’s weather sucks, and I had no idea at all what I was doing.  But I was exploring, and learning, and getting inspired, and doing what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  At the show I also found out about a photo journalism course that you could do by correspondence (this was back in the days before Communication degrees existed at Universities and Colleges, and the internet was future fantasy), which my parents bought for my next birthday and which I’m sure I enjoyed although can’t really remember the content.

The great irony is that while I didn’t become a photo journalist then (being a travel agent, lawyer, biz dev guy and broadcast host happened instead), I do get to be one now.   And I still have that same Pentax K1000, which has traveled to more countries than many people, and which is still in working order even though her formerly glossy metal is showing signs of her 33 years.  And my new toy is a Pentax K-01, much newer technology, much shinier, and much prettier (it is, after all, designed by Marc Newson), but it will take all my old lenses that I could never before use for digital pics, and I feel happy, and creatively inspired.  Now lets go see what my new toy can do.




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