So who wants to lend me their fancy camera and teach me how to use it?
I really only picked up a camera for the first time a couple of years ago in preparation for my big solo mission around the world. Prior to that, Matthew had been the team photographer and one so supremely skilled and gifted at the task that it would have been absurd for me to stand beside him and take sub-standard photos of the same thing, especially as we were so enmeshed that his photos were no less my own than my words were his.
With him out of the picture so to speak, it fell to me to take my own photos and so I got myself a little Sony point and shoot and started snapping. It felt strange in my sole possession but it wasn’t long before it became a permanent extension to my hand. I posted my photos on my blog and people liked what they saw. It was a revelation and the feedback was gratifying.
At the end of that trip, I landed back home with a bit of a thud – I lost my little camera but found Instagram (a social media app for sharing photos) and very quickly became obsessed. Pop psychology may suggest that I was metaphorically trying to dress up in Matthew’s clothes to feel closer to him or attempting to find common ground but however it started, it soon had a profound effect on my recovery by forcing me to remain present in a reality where my past was decimated and my future uncertain. More than that though, it enabled me to see beauty everywhere I looked.
The social aspect of Instagram also exposed my photos to a far broader audience and the feedback has been astounding (especially with so many assuming that me and my iPhone are a professional photography set up)! I’m not totally delusional, I know I owe much to the pre-designed filters that absolve even the most ordinary photos of a multitude of sins but it would also be folly for me to ignore this developing passion that is continuing to be acknowledged by so many around the world (who aren’t even obliged to say nice things to me)!
In relation to this trip, I should also mention that I have made some invaluable connections through Instagram – I’ve already mentioned Sarah (aka @bananaowl) whom I had the great pleasure of meeting in person to pick her brains about Cambodia; Inga at Tiny Iceland who is giving me the opportunity to step up my travel blogging; and a host of others I’m planning to meet up with around the way.
But I’m a long way from calling myself a photographer, I’m a phone-ographer at best now that my iPhone is the only photographic device I own and it ain’t going to cut it when the Northern Lights start dancing!
Although I’ve never actually used an SLR myself, this latent photographic streak of mine has made me realise that I must have inadvertently undertaken an 18 year apprenticeship of sorts by Matthew’s side to know the precious little I do. Still, what make his photos extraordinary can’t be taught, I need to know the things that can and fast! Good thing I’m a quick learner! So again I ask: who wants to lend me their fancy camera and show me how to use it (actually, according to this handy blog on Tiny Iceland, you’re also going to have to lend me a tripod and hopefully a shutter release cable. I should be able to sort the torch out for myself… actually, I don’t think I have one, can I borrow a torch as well please)?
I promise to take extra special care of your camera, even more than if it were my own. I’ll also make sure that it is properly insured in the extremely unlikely event that anything should happen to it. I know this is a massive favour I’m asking so there’s absolutely no obligation to offer even though I may know you’ve got one tucked away just bursting to do its best under the Northern Lights!
Naomi Doyle, aka Patches McGee is a writer, traveller and phone-ographer in desperate need of your help to make her next trip to see the Northern Lights a reality. Join the journey here by subscribing to this blog, on Facebook at Patches McGee, Twitter @patches_mcgee and Instagram @patches_mcgee