I studied applied photography in Glasgow, completing the 3-year course in 1980. I was more interested in the technical side of things than in working as a commercial or social photographer! Just before the course finished, I found the perfect job for me, at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (ROE); much of the work was mundane and repetitive, but I enjoyed being involved in research astronomy. I spent the next 15 years at ROE, with 2 years on assignment to their then-outstation in Australia, the UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring. This was just in time for the 1986 appearance of Comet Halley, so my interests in photography and astronomy were well-served.
While I was at college, I started experimenting with pinhole photography, although none of those images survive now. It wasn't until 17 years later, that I got back into it, building a few cameras of different types - from a 35mm film canister to a big mailing tube that took a 20x24-inch sheet of paper. Sadly, I lost access to a darkroom very soon afterwards, and was unable to continue. For the next 10 years or so, I had very little involvement with photography, as I busied myself with other jobs and ventures. I did start dabbling with digitising some of my earlier and more recent photographs, and exploring the possibilities of using a computer instead of a darkroom, but it never went very far.
Fast forward to November 2007, and my discovery of the Redbubble website. By now, I was getting itchy to do more with my photography again, so finding RB, and the means to publish and perhaps sell my work, was very fortunate. RB turned me back on to photography, and I am now building a portfolio that should be of some value - artistically and commercially. Rediscovering pinhole has been part of the process, and as ever, I have enjoyed the building (or rather, modifying) of a couple of 35mm cameras, so that I don't need to go back to the darkroom after each exposure. 35mm pinhole has its limitations though, but I try to work within them - and get around them - to create something worthwhile.
by Duncan Waldron
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