It began long before I even knew it began. My love for images and photography, so deep seeded that I see now it probably couldn’t have been any other way. I used to spend hours flicking through images that my parents had taken of my sisters and I – literally in awe of the fact that moments could be frozen and re-lived through images. I spent my childhood watching old black and white movies, and I really wasn’t all that excited when my parents bought their first color TV.
But my life wasn’t to lead me down that path for quite a while. At college I enrolled in a Photography course but had to drop out because the chemicals used to develop images in the darkroom made me sick.
My life continued, I married, had children and spent the next 18 years being a Mom to all seven of them. When my last baby arrived I began to feel a sort of panic. I’d taken lots of pictures of my children throughout their growing up years with my point and shoot camera, but I really hadn’t captured them the way that I wanted to. My daughters birth coincided with the arrival of my first iPhone in April 2009. It made instant photography so much more accessible and I soon realised that I didn’t care about the phone so much as the camera on it, the editing apps and the fact that I could snap away whenever I wanted to. Now, lets just say – I went through a bit of experimenting with it…
Don’t ask me what I was thinking – I’m really not sure, lol!
In May, I was given my first DSLR camera. It wasn’t new, (a Nikon D1) an older style Nikon and it didn’t always work properly, but it allowed me to explore the settings and begin my journey in a more serious way.
I must have had a thing for slanty angles…
and highly saturated, contrasty images…
But really, I was just trying to find my way. I read photography blogs, bought Photoshop and sat looking at it completely lost….no idea what an adjustment layer was. So I did the only thing I could do in this situation; I used actions.
Oh dear! My kids with grey skin and funky selective color effects…
By July 2010 my black and white conversions were bland and muddy. I still didn’t have a clue how or what to do to produce images the way I wanted them.
But at least I had stopped using actions for a while.
Then in October 2010 everything changed for me. I was told about a forum that I might be interested in, somewhere friendly where I could learn the skills that I so badly wanted and needed. I joined that day. I remember that first week so clearly. I felt overwhelmed and not sure where to begin; I seriously wondered if I would ever have the courage to even submit a post. I realised then how green I really was, such a small fish in a huge inspiring sea of talent. Would anyone even respond to me. Two days later, I posted a ‘hello’ thread. I got replies, and help with no judgement and I soon realised that here was a place that I could grow. Clickin Moms became another home to me.
In November 2010 I started shooting in RAW – this was one of my first attempts. A long way to go but it was a start.
I loved the control that it gave me during editing.
And in December, I began Portfolio Building. I took this image of my lovely friend and fellow CMer and although her family made it so easy for me and were so very lovely, I had a feeling that I probably wouldn’t pursue this side of the business.
So I concentrated on getting better. I spent the next year inhaling everything I could that was photography related. I posted on the Clickin Moms boards, practised shooting, editing, and formed friendships. I took some of the amazing photography workshops here at Clickin Moms without which I would never have progressed so fast, they were invaluable to me and my journey. I worked hard, although photography never seems like work to me, and little by little, some of the puzzles seem to slot into place. I began to realise that my true love was for black and white images. I’ve always been so drawn to the light and mood that black and white images create and I find them incredibly powerful.
Towards the end of 2011, I was producing work that appealed to me in a much stronger way, and I became a member of CMpro.
Living in the UK has given me the opportunity to reconnect with my love for low light, film inspired black and white images and it has been exactly where I needed to be during the last year.
I also like a bit of color now and then…
2013 is set to be just as busy, as my family and I gear up to move from the UK to the UAE where no doubt I will be chasing some beautiful light. I continue to grow through the forum, through practise such as the Daily Project and personal projects and I’m thrilled to be bringing out a workshop about timeless photography in August. It’s such a great opportunity to be able to encourage others who share the same love for photography as I do!
Emma Wood, United Arab Emirates
CMU Instructor | CM Mentor
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Emma currently resides in the United Arab Emirates with her pilot husband and 5 of their 7 children, the older kids are now studying in the UK. Despite discovering photography as a means to document her children’s lives within the past few years, she has always had a love for photography, “particularly black and white which stems from my love of black and white films when I was a child.” Emma arms herself with a Nikon D700, a variety of prime lenses and a Lensbaby. She is the instructor of the CMU workshops Foundations of Composition, The Art of Mobile Photography, and Timeless Photography and Emotive Expression.