Photography - Steve  Marshall

I've had a camera since my late teens, most of the time a 35mm SLR of one make or another.  I still remember the first - a German Praktica Nova, built like a tank, with screw-thread interchangeable lenses.  I've always tried to take something a bit more than "snapshots", without really knowing in a systematic way what I was doing.

In 2001 we went on an art/photography tour through the Greek islands, then went on to visit Delphi, Istanbul, Paris and England.  The tour leader for the Greece part of the tour was master photographer Nick Melidonis, multiple winner of the AIPP Landscape Photographer of the Year award, and numerous others.  Apart from being a great holiday, the trip really fired up my interest in photography, and I learnt a great deal.   It was the start of a continuing process which has raised the standard of my image-making significantly.

Before we left on that trip I was quite surprised to learn that colour slide film was still widely used - indeed, that it was the film of choice for "serious" photographers. I came home with over 1000 shots, mostly slides - probably more images than I had taken in my life up to then. After returning home I updated all my equipment (still film at that stage) and joined the Workshop Camera Club, which has also been a great learning experience.  Entering competitions is an excellent way to improve almost anything, and photography is no exception.  I have enjoyed modest success in the club competitions, and even picked up a few awards in exhibitions and competitions outside of the club.

I took a long time to make the change from film to digital. Rightly or wrongly, I decided that I wanted a full-frame digital SLR, but the early ones were way too expensive for me. I ended up with a Canon EOS 5D, which was bought just after the Mk2 model was announced and the prices for the Mk1 plummeted. It was a pleasure to own and use, and it served me well for about 6 years.  But things move on, especially in the electronics arena, and in 2014 I "downsized" to the micro-four-thirds system, with an Olympus E-M1 (the Mk 1 model).  The image quality from the much smaller sensor is at least the equal of what I was getting from the Canon 5D, and the much smaller size and weight have been very welcome.  The collection of lenses has grown slowly, and about the only thing missing is a long telephoto lens.  But it is only rarely that I feel the lack of it, so there is no hurry to fill that gap.

I photograph all sorts of things, but one one thing I particularly enjoy is finding what might be called "the abstract in the real world".  What I mean is images that are abstract or semi-abstract, but which are straight takes of something around us.  It might be a flower, a building or part of a building, or a line across a landscape.  Most often such images will have a small number of strong design elements, either of line, pattern or colour.  There are numerous examples of this sort of thing in the galleries.