I remember the day I got my first camera, a Kodak thing which used 110 cartridges, and the viewfinder was in a totally different place to the lens that it would frequently chop heads off, I remember the first adventure it went on, to London with girls brigade, I was 9 years old and I've loved photos ever since. To me, both personally and also professionally I think photographs are a window to the soul or a moment in time, I've been to many photographic exhibitions including Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson and I fell in love with the way they saw the world, I love the work of Diane Arbus and the statements she made through her work and in my later years I have discovered a love of photographic artists like Eve Arnold, Loretta Lux, and Vee Speers, I am constantly amazed by the new ways in which people create images and in my own work I fall in love with photography over and over again.
My business Mandy Charlton Photography is 10 years old in June, I still retain some of my earliest clients and have photographed moments throughout their lives. I have witnessed hundreds of couples get married, I have held a thousand babies and I have sung "Wind the bobbin up" way too many times trying to coax smiles from three-year-olds with their families. I adore that I have the trust and love of my clients to share their special moments.
In my own life, I spent many years without a camera and then around 11 years ago I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 350D, it was at the moment I picked up that camera that I suddenly knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Today I'm in the best place with work, I have combined my love of photography with my love of writing, I tell the stories of lives and moments and memories and I take you readers to places you've never been or I help you see them with fresh eyes, every time I look through the viewfinder I know the photo I'm already going to take, I rarely crop and I'll be the first to admit I get quite protective of my images, no other business is as close to my heart because every time I take a shot, I give a piece of my heart.
|One of my first ever photos with my first DSLR Camera, lovely little Looby|
In these modern times I use 4 cameras, a Canon 6D, a Fuji X-Pro1, a Fuji X70 and my iPhone 7Plus, I'm not really bothered which I have with me, at least personally because I believe the best camera is the one you have with you at the time, every moment I document is just that, a cherished moment, it doesn't matter how I've taken it, in fact, some of my favourite moments were taken with an iPhone, my kids, my dog, my life, my heart, photography is all about heart.
Sometimes things go wrong, sometimes technology isn't our best friend and in those cases you need backup, I currently store everything on a time capsule, online with dropbox and google photos and on a separate data drive and you know, things can still go wrong, a couple of years ago at a wedding my memory card failed, it just failed, no rhyme or reason why sometimes it just happens, I swapped cards and shot everything again just in case (I stick to smaller memory cards for that very purpose, I've learnt a lot in 10 years) and when I got home I turned to the software I've used for many years now Remo photo recovery software, the software is super easy to use and it got everything back, every single thing. I'd always recommend having some software like this at your disposal whether you are a professional or not, can you imagine losing your entire family photo catalogue? When people have drive failures or heaven forbid there's a crime or house damage, they don't care about the big things, it's usually the case that the things we are bothered about losing are our memories because memories really are the most important things in life.
In crafting my future I made a small decision to concentrate on writing for a while but it's only because I want to be able to find a way to do both things, I believe when you can offer amazing images put together with beautifully written words then truly the world is your oyster. I love writing about my life, the ups and downs, the travel and adventure, the small moments but what brings each article alive are the photos I share to go with them. Sometimes I'll revisit days with Google photos and I love looking back at the images I shot 9 or 10 years ago, I will say that I've rather improved in the last decade but there are still photos I'm so proud of that I'd love to share a few of my favourite cherished moments now, some are personal, some professional but remember, they're all created with love and passion.
In the next 10 years I hope that I grow into my style more than ever before, I hope to find new ways represent the people I work with and the places I go. In my personal life, I just want to keep recording the moments, I have splendid teens who aren't so keen on photos of themselves anymore, well except when we go anywhere and they use me as their own personal photographer, Looby especially has my photos on her Instagram feed. The best thing is that I seem to have passed on some of my passion to Abigail, she's already a talented photographer with her iPhone and one day I hope she'll dust off the heavier DSLR I gave her, I want her to continue to record history long after I'm able to although in saying that, as long as I can hold a camera and see well enough to take the image I'll continue to do so, photography never lets you down, it's always a friend and it's always true, in some ways it's the greatest love of all.