Thursday, January 22, 2009
"When I was 12, I wanted to be an ornithologist but for a cockney in the East End of London to look at birds through binoculars was very suspect. In my father's eyes, I had to be as queer as a coot. The Walt Disney films started me taking bird pictures that I processed in my mother's cellar, an old air raid shelter from the war. Then I lost interest in photography until I was 16 and started playing the trumpet and dreaming of being Chet Baker. Some fantastic record covers out of California made me want to take pictures again but I didn't have the money to buy a camera.
When I was 18 I was drafted into the Royal Air Force and ended up in Malaya and Singapore, where cameras were cheap. I bought a 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 Rollop that was a copy of Rolleiflex, and a Canon that was copy of a Leica. I used to hock them to process my film. Every two weeks, on payday, I'd get my cameras out of hock, buy film and take pictures for a week."