My very early memories are of playing with an old camera without any film in it, I would go around the garden for hours looking through the viewfinder and composing and then "taking pictures" and since then have known exactly what I wanted to do and have been doing it ever since.
Here I am at about 4 years old playing with that camera, and I still have one of the same model. Its an Ensnign, here it is, the first picture shows it turned around to match the angle to the one I am holding
So by the age of 14 I had my own darkroom set up in my parents bathroom (thanks Mum ) and also my 1st proper 35mm camera. I chose not to take A level photography at school as I really didn't fancy - what I saw as taking photos of vases of flowers as I felt that I was already beyond that, and so opted instead to enter the world of work.
My first job at 16 was working as a photo printer in one of the pro labs in Leicester, and very soon was promoted to manage one of the printing departments,but my spare time would still find me taking photos, especially landscapes with a 5x4 inch plate camera 1 shot at a time, in the picture below. Taken somewhere in Dovedale 1987
At the pro lab I started with black and white and then trained as a colour photo printer, then at age 19 also assisting in the photographic studio,and also working solo at the outdoor photographic assignments, until the lab closed down a few years later, shortly after I started photography by Bill Haddon back in 1995.
Taken in 1988 at the age of 20 and by then with 4 years darkroom experience and already manager of a lab's black and white department and assisting in the photographic studio.
Today I still use those skills honed in a real (wet) darkroom- especially the colour side of things as to "see" colour correctly takes years of experience. But today the darkroom is photoshop and a computer.
Yes - its the same tripod a Manfrotto Art 055, but with modern digital cameras its not used so much
Here I am again some time in the 1990s playing with an antique whole plate camera that takes sheets of almost A4 size film one shot at a time.
So, I photographed my first wedding in Leicester when I was 20, it was film at that time and you had to get the wedding photography right the first time with NO mistakes – no delete button or photoshop then, the expertise needed for film meant it was vital to have an eye for detail, think ahead and work fast which are still some of the key qualities needed for weddings today.