The great outdoors featured heavily in my childhood. Many weekends would be spent walking with my family, particularly in the Lake District. I loved being among nature, but back then I didn’t realise the beauty of the scenery would inspire me the way it has. I think my photography story really began when I went to university. I studied media and performance and although we learned about media production rather than photography, many of the creative principles of camera work were the same.
In 1998 I went on a road trip around California. I can’t remember whether I had a mobile phone back then but if I did, it certainly didn’t have a camera. My boyfriend at the time lent me his camera. I just remember it being huge and heavy with god knows how many lenses! I had no idea how to use it, so I just made it up as I went along.
Although I loved being able to take photos, I hated having to lug the cumbersome thing around, getting it in and out of the case and changing the lenses. Not only that, I didn’t particularly enjoy looking like a blatant tourist!
Even though I loved capturing the images, I found it frustrating that I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was conscious that I kept disappearing and keeping the others waiting. While everyone was busy queuing for ice cream at Monterey Bay, I had my head under the jetty looking for sea lions!
It was another few years before I attempted any more photography, but by this time, things were becoming digital, which was much more appealing to me. No more traipsing to the shop to get my films developed or faffing around with lenses – this was more my kind of thing!
So, I invested in a Sony digital camera. Even though I didn’t have much money to spend at the time, I was excited to buy my very first digital camera. I enjoyed using this so much more as it was easier to carry around and I was able to edit the images on my laptop.
I signed up for a digital photography course, but patience isn’t my strongest point and nothing seemed to sink in. I decided that I would rather learn by trial and error!
Images taken with Sony digital camera
It wasn’t until a few years later when I bought an iPhone that things started to get really exciting. I’m not denying my skills hadn’t already gradually improved over the years, but I felt that the iPhone really started to unleash my potential. Obviously, there are some limitations with phone cameras, but I believe that if I hadn’t bought an iPhone, I wouldn’t have got to the stage I’m at now with my photography.
I’m not very good at following rules and if I can find a way to do something that suits me better, then I’ll do it. I love being able to shoot from the hip. It’s convenient and instant.
Then I discovered Instagram. Being able to follow other photographers was so inspiring and it motivated me to do better. I started to dedicate a lot more time to my photography and improve my skills with the iPhone camera. Rather than just taking photographs when I was going somewhere, I would plan trips solely to capture great shots.
I know there’s a lot of snobbery about iPhone photography as it takes a lot of skill and dedication to master the art of using cameras such as DSLRs, but they just aren’t for me. In the past, I’ve been advised not to tell anyone that I use an iPhone but I’m stubborn and this just makes me even more determined. I’m not going to lie about what I do. If it wasn’t for the iPhone, I wouldn’t be writing this now.
iPhone 7 photos
If you like what you’ve read in my photography story and want to see more recent images taken with the iPhone 11, take a look at my photographs of Catbells.