Starting Out:  A Retrospective of My Early Photography

October 23, 2017 | Peter Stewart

A Look Back at my Early Cringy Photography

2008 seems like a world away now, indeed almost 10 years ago. Yet it was an important milestone that kickstarted off the path I now take today as a full-time travel photographer.

This was the year I bought my very first camera!

Only to then burn out my eyeballs with some psychedelic HDR!

Up-to that point in my life, I had never shown any interest in stills photography. Keep in mind that unlike today, we didn't really have smartphones with built-in cameras, nor the photography centric social media sites and apps that go along with it. Both of these tools are arguably what helped push amateur photography into the mainstream.

Back then, I was living and working a typical office job in England. I was in my early 20's, and like many, my interests mostly revolved around gaming, and spending far too much time and money down at the local pubs. I was still fairly creatively minded. I'd always had an interest in filmmaking ever since my early teens. I loved to watch classic movies by the likes of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lean & Spielberg to analyse and deconstruct aspects of the cinematography. For me, it was always about the visuals.

With my interests in filmmaking, I even started making some of my own films as far back as high school. None of which survive today as the DVD's are long lost along with the masters which would have been originally recorded on VHS or DV tape. I think the world is a better place anyway without having to view my laughable teenage films!

Anyway, the reason I bring up filmmaking is that up until the point I first picked up a stills camera, I was almost oblivious to the world of photography. Even with my first camera, I still remember using it mainly for its video function.

The camera in question was a Sony Cybershot RX7. A small 7-megapixel point and shoot that also took extremely high-res 640x480 video! Looking back at the images it took, the quality actually still holds up pretty well.

This lasted me for a year or so, mostly being used to document parties and various nights out, but looking back through my folder archives from the pictures I took, I can see the slow beginnings where I started to explore little sparks of creativity with the world of photography. After the Sony Point & Shoot was destroyed (literally), I purchased a Canon 1000D DSLR with an 18-55mm kit lens, and the rest is history.

That being said, looking back, one thing is also evident. The photos I took were utter utter crap!

I apologise in advance for making you vomit all over your screen!

Looking back on your early work is a great reminder to show just how much you've grown and improved as an artist. In today's oversaturated and noisy online world, it can sometimes be disheartening when you are bombarded with a steady stream of images you feel are far greater than anything you could possibly produce. There is just so much talent out there that often it can have a negative effect on creativity rather than the opposite.  

Remember that all artists had to start somewhere, so go have a quick look at your early photography and then compare to your most recent. I'll bet there is a world of difference between when you first started out and where you are now. So the lesson is to be proud of the progress you've made! 

Here are some samples of a few very old pictures compared with more recent takes from the same or similar angles.

Singapore Skyline - 2010 vs 2016

Singapore's Merlion and CBD cityscape - 2009 vs 2017

Chureito Pagoda, Japan - 2012 vs 2016

Hong Kong - 2009 vs 2015

Kyoto, Japan - 2012 vs 2017

  • Changing Lanes

Tokyo, Japan - 2010 vs 2016

Hong Kong - 2009 vs 2017

Singapore - 2009 vs 2016 (note the Marina Bay Sands Hotel under construction)

Hong Kong's 'Lippo Centre' - 2009 vs 2015

  • Paul Harris

    on September 12, 2018

    Great post! You have come along way; I am jelly.

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