I was thinking about how I got started in photography the other day, and thought I'd share some of my memories!

I think my first recollection of being behind the camera was when I was about eight or nine!

I had an older cousin, and we used to go trainspotting together! We would jot down the numbers of the engines we saw, and then later underline them in special book that contained all of the engine numbers in the country! It kept me amused for hours on end!

Anyway, this was in the mid to late 70's, and one day my cousin brought a camera along with him - it was an Olympus OM-1 - and I remember being utterly enthralled by it!

During the sometimes long waits between trains appearing, he would explain the camera controls to me, and if I was lucky, would even let me hold it! I can still hear him telling me off once for pressing the shutter when the film had been advanced, and wasting a frame of precious film! It took a long time to get my little hands back on the camera after that incident!

From the first day I laid eyes on this fabulous silver mechanical object, I just had to have one! I begged and pleaded with my parents to buy me one, but, of course, SLR's were extremely expensive, and weren't for children!

When my birthday came around I couldn't wait to open my presents! I didn't get an Olympus SLR, or an SLR of any kind, but I did get a Kodak Instamatic, which took 126 cassette film, and produced square prints! It was cheap, plastic, and basic, but it was functional, and I loved the little camera and carried it everywhere with me!

Nothing was safe from my lens! Friends, family, toys, my pet rabbits, the road where I lived, and I even remember some ambitious abstract work done from the back seat of my dad's car while we drove along! Of course, I took it trainspotting with me, and remember trying to copy my cousin, standing in the same way he stood, and shooting exactly what he was shooting!

When I got into my teenage years, I didn't have time for photography! I was more interested in computers, and the possibilities of having a computer at home, and was excited about being able to program one myself - something that has stood me in good stead for my career to this day!

However, I will always look back on my very first forays into photography very fondly, and wonder what I would have done if Sir Clive Sinclair hadn't kickstarted the personal computer revolution in the UK!

So, how about you? What are your early memories of photography? Did it start with admiring cameras, or pictures? Did you have a friend or a relative who encouraged you? What motivated you to pick up a camera for the first time?