When I was fifteen, I joined the photography club in my high school in Germany. The following year, I decided I had enough of school, and rather than continuing for another two years to do the equivalent of an A-level and then university, I started a photographer apprenticeship. In Germany, this means full-time training, work in a photo studio and attending photography school for one and a half days a week for three years. For family reasons, I only did one year, but I loved it, particularly photography school.
Nobody at work or school was talking about digital cameras yet back then. However, five years later, I co-founded a digital imaging business and started offering scanning and digital printing services and digital image editing with Adobe Photoshop. We didn’t have digital cameras yet. We would take pictures on reversal film and scan these on a high-end scanner. We had a Fuji medium format camera, but my personal camera was a Pentax 645N, which I loved, with lots of accessories likes lenses, a flash, tripod, and filters. I used to travel very heavy!
I bought my first digital camera in 2001. They were very expensive, plus I couldn’t bear the plastic ones so, I bought the beautifully designed compact Canon IXUS 300, which I still have. By this time, I didn’t have my digital imaging business anymore but had started my new career as an English teacher. So a digital camera was great. I didn’t need to take pictures on film, have them developed and then scanned. Compared to my previous professional equipment, it was also very light and I could take it with me in a handbag. I enjoyed taking pictures with it a lot and did so for many years.
Then, there was a long break. I focused on my new career, teaching English. I travelled, studied for a certificate, then a diploma,and a Master’s degree, worked a lot, moved to another country, worked, did a lot of other things, worked more…
Last year, when I was on Facebook, I saw that a photographer I was following was testing a new camera. The camera looked absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! I know, you will say, how can you say that about a camera. Well, you can! It was not made of plastic, it had a retro style, similar to my very first analog camera (a Nikon FG), and it was compact: Fujifilm X30. I had to have this camera. At the end of last summer, after finishing teaching another 10-week EAP course, I bought the camera to reward myself for all the hard work. It was, and is, the right camera that is compact enough to carry around in my handbag, but also professional enough to take high-quality pictures.
There is a lot to learn and relearn for me. Digital cameras are much more complicated than analog ones. All the buttons, menus, settings, and icons are confusing. This is another reason why I went for a compact, fixed lens camera. I didn’t want to think about buying and changing lenses, a flash, etc. but wanted to focus on the essentials and familiarize myself with all the digital functions and settings. I also wanted to simply enjoy taking photographs and not worry about accessories.