zero-to-hero-graham-owen Zero to Hero Story from Graham Owen
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Graham Owen

 5th Nov 2019

The year was 1954 and I was given a Kodak Brownie Cresta for my 7th birthday - I’ve been taking photographs ever since I was running a photographic club at school when I discovered I was a little colour blind, colour printing was just beyond me. Developing colour film and transparencies was OK as it was done in a developing tank and not by eye. This background has been behind my love of black and white imagery. Since I went digital in 2002 all of my work is in colour and I convert to black and white in post production.



I bought my first SLR, a Pentax SV (still got it) circa 1966 from Wallace Heaton in Fleet Street, London (anyone remember their blue book?) I used this for almost 20 years because I never found the need to upgrade to a later model with built-in metering! I won a competition with this camera and with the proceeds bought an Olympus OM2 SP in about 1984 - I still have this camera too.



In 2002 I went digital with a 3MP Nikon Coolpix 885 compact, chosen as it had manual controls. A fellow camera club member recommended Mike to me relatively recently and I immediately felt at home with his videos, his attitude and outlook closely reflects my own position on photography. I really like his presentation and how the content is structured. My biggest issue is that I don't have an artistic bone in my body. And I'm not creative. Although technically I'm pretty sound, I've always felt that there is something missing from my images. Mike talks about pre-visualisation.

flower 2


I'd always had a distorted idea of what this is, thinking it was buried in the art world, but Mike's explanation and demonstrations of pre-visualisation put it all in place. You never stop learning with photography and the 7 Building Blocks of Photography is a prime example that there is something for everyone no matter how experienced you are.


Doing Mike's 7 Building Blocks of Photography course there was a light-bulb moment. It made me realise that contrary to my default structured approach, outlook and methodology with everything I do, I was not doing it with my photography! I like to take on things that are out of my comfort zone and since 2012 I've become interested in studio and portrait work. I also shoot interiors for a building company, record the activities at a narrow gauge railway, shoot the home games for a rugby club and cover events. I like to think that I'm still improving and I'm pleased with my images overall.


I saw one of Mike's videos - Photography Tips - Understanding Light (Pt 2A) Portraits ( where he uses arches to control ambient light. When we had Becca visit our camera club we did not have any arches, but we did have a tree! I got some of my favourite pictures from the shoot here.


Mike is always saying that cameras are not important and I agree. These pictures, other than the first, were taken with a Nikon D70s (bought 2006), a D300, a D700, a D810, a D850, a Fuji XT-1 and an XT-2. Can you pin a camera to a picture? I bet you can't! So why have I had so many cameras in 14 years when I had my Pentax for nearly 20? I wanted better handling principally and new features and capabilities that were useful to me. Camera development is now so much faster. My current kit is a Nikon D850, D810 and a Fuji XT-2.