It's difficult for me to now imagine a life without the internet. Without mobile phones and digital cameras. But there was a point during my youth when these things just didn't exist. Millennials will never know the feeling...
I specifically remember my first encounter with a digital camera. It was during my "socializing phase" when most of my spare time on weekends was spent meeting friends at various bars and clubs. One of my mates had just returned from the U.K and had bought himself a digital camera. I had always loved technology and gadgets, so I asked him if I could test drive it over the course of the weekend. And because it was the weekend, there was only one place that I would be.
So there I was, sitting at the back of the bar, beer in one hand, camera in the other when I suddenly realized that I had no idea how to operate it (the camera, not the beer). My knowledge of cameras was obviously non existent. Sure, I knew what a camera was. I had taken a few snapshots with my parents' extremely cheap point-and-shoot film camera as a kid. But this was nothing like that. Digital had not really become popular yet where I was so this was entirely new territory for me. Navigating the camera's controls in a dimly lit bar was also not ideal. But a few minutes later the device was on, lens extended and ready to shoot. My knowledge of composition and photography was also obviously, non existent. So I did what any amateur would do - lifted the camera to eye level, pointed it in a random direction and pressed the shutter button.
What happened next shocked me and was totally unexpected. Because of the dark environment, the camera's flash popped up and illuminated the entire area as it took the shot. It was as if a SWAT team had let off a flash grenade within the small confines of the room. Every single head turned and looked at me. Most people, sober or not, I assumed didn't even know what had caused the disruption. I hid the camera, picked up my beer, took a sip and looked at the floor while mentally screaming the words "IT WASN'T ME!"
Nothing was the same after that. From then on, I just knew that taking photographs was something that I wanted to do. Now, almost fifteen years on, and still working in the industry I look back at the first digital image that I took. I don't think that I have ever seen a more boring and uninspiring (not to mention technically unsound) image. But I like to imagine that that particular moment is the one that set me on the path that I am on today. It's also good to see how far I've come since then. Almost none of my boring, uninspiring, out of focus shots are taken in bars anymore...
So here it is then. Behold! My first image in all its glory (and by glory I mean 640 x 480 pixel resolution. Which was the absolute highest that the camera could shoot).
Do you remember or still have the first image you ever took? Let me know in the comments below.