When I was 18, I thought I wanted to be an artist. As I came to the end of my time at sixth form college, I applied to and was offered a place on an Art Foundation diploma. It began with a week of each of the specialisms available, after which we would choose one field to specialise in. I was leaning towards either painting or mixed media… but then someone gave me a chocolate box with a pin-sized hole in it covered with a flap of ducktape, and told me it was a camera.
I exposed an image onto the paper inside, and took the box into the darkroom, where I watched as my tutor made my paper negative bloom with shapes and shadows.
It seemed like a form of magic, and I was hooked.
Over the next year, the caretakers kicked me out of the darkrooms so they could lock up the building and go home more times than I care to remember. I found comfort in the clicks of development spools and the chemical scent of developer and fixer. By 2009, I had gained my diploma, a photography degree, and a determination that I never want to make a career out of photography.
I ended up retraining in a completely different field, and photography became one of my hobbies, alongside roller derby, which is what I shoot the most – although in 2018, my mission is to shoot for fun more often, and perhaps to break out some of the film that’s been sitting untouched in my fridge for far too long… and to look again at the fine arts that I dismissed all those years ago.