rowe timson photography » rowe timson photography ~ commercial photographer and family portraits. sydney, brisbane, gold coast.

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{my photography journey + my love of film… part one}

those of you who know me, know that i love film… for those of you who dont know that about me, here is a little about my photography journey so far!

my love for photography started with a canon AE1 in high school and many hours spent in the darkroom in year 11 and 12 (sorry mum… i know i was meant to be attending other subjects!). i later invested in a contax G2 with 3 lenses and a flash. i loved that camera more than you can imagine…  what amazing photos it takes!

not long after that, i found myself dreaming of owning a medium format camera so i went out and bought the mamiya 645AFD. it felt so lovely in my hands and i could switch from 120 film to 220 to polaroid… it just doesnt get much better than that… i was in heaven!

ive done various photography jobs throughout my adult life.

ive photographed the mundane – think golf courses… i photographed golf courses in nz, malaysia and the usa for a cd rom publication. im sure taking photos of golf courses would be an exciting job for someone… someone who loves golf or shooting landscapes probably but thats just not me.

ive had photography jobs i liked an awful lot – i was a location scout in the film and television industry. my bosses were amazing and it was a super fun and positive place to work.

then there are the photography jobs i really loved… i love to shoot people and i love fashion so needless to say, working in the fashion industry with some really creative and inspiring people was amazing! it was extremely exciting to see my work published in some of my favourite magazines like oyster!

note : before digital and online portfolios, photographers showed their work in books…  mine was an 11×14 leather book full of photos and tear sheets.  it now gathers dust in a box in our garage but we are just about to move so i will dig it up when we are settled and scan a few of my favourite tear sheets to share them with you here.

between my various photography jobs ive worked in childcare and hospitality. i love children. i love people. obviously both of those jobs are a really good fit for me.

in 2008 i started to study at nature care college in sydney to become a nutritionalist. i get asked a lot, how did that come about? i dare say its a whole different blog post cause its such a complex issue… in a nutshell, audrey has loads of allergies and i have dedicated hours and hours researching and worked hard for many years on healing her tummy and strengthening her immune system through diet, vitamins and lots of alternative treatments. because of our experiences and knowing how hard it can be with a child like that, i really wanted to help other mums heal their children, so i began down a new and exciting path.

your probably wondering, why im not a nutritionalist now? why im not working in childcare or hospitality? why im here writing about photography? when i was studying nutrition, i started to get restless as i always did when i was doing something that wasnt photography. i dreamt of being a photographer… i talked about it to anybody who would listen… then one day, i started to listen to myself. to realise that photography makes my heart sing and i knew that i wanted nothing more than to be a photographer so here we are! im doing what i love and i couldnt be happier! everyday i think how lucky i am that i followed my heart and didnt take a different path! everything happens for a reason.

that being said, getting to this point was not an easy journey… the most difficult time came in 2005 when i decided it was time to move into the world of digital photography. i packed away my film camera and i bought a canon eos 20D. i had to learn a new way of shooting. i had to learn how to use a computer and editing software. how to save, store and share my work with potential clients online. from a professional point of view, i think most of the changes in the industry are awesome but i won’t lie, i seriously considered calling it quits at one point. instead i took an online workshop and the experience was amazing! i met all kinds of lovely and inspiring people and i was able to get my head around things. dont laugh… at times, im technically challenged so learning new computer skills doesnt come as easy to me as one might think it should!

anyway, last year i found myself looking through old film photos with a heavy heart… i wished for those days where shooting was simple. where you turn up to a job and you take photos. you go to your favourite lab to drop off the film. you tell the technician you want poppy colours and lots of contrast. then comes the waiting… a feeling of anticipation, hoping you got something you love! the wait was almost unbearable but its also one of things i love and miss the most!

when you get back that envelope filled with photos the waiting was worth every minute… the feeling of textured paper in your hands. seeing an image that you captured that is perfect in every way – you cant crop it or do a curves layer, no colour adjustments or warming it up… knowing you got it right in camera. loving it just the way you captured it… the image being exactly as you imagined without you doing a thing to it. there is something quite magical about that!

in 2010 i was thinking about how little i photographed my own family which made me feel sad… i hadnt been taking personal photos because my work load was keeping me busy and i couldnt stand the thought of having personal images to sort and edit on top of my clients work which always takes priority…  i was thinking i wanted to photograph audrey more and i wanted to take photos on film again so i decided that i would try and shoot all my personal work on film! i was sure shooting film would encourage me to take more photos of my family and i would be shooting film again!

i was so excited! i got out my film cameras {thank goodness i never sold them because there were times when i considered it!}, i bought film (that was difficult because all the films i remember loving were no longer being made!). i popped them on my tv unit in my room thinking if i had them sitting nearby, where i could see them, i would be sure to use them. december came and i realised i hadnt taken any photos, not even one single frame!

im pretty sure this is the longest post ive ever done…  perhaps cause ive been sick the last week and im beyond bored.  or maybe i just have so much to say…  anyway, for that reason, im going to make this story into 2 posts…

{part 2 is coming soon…}

rowe x

p.s. because i cant do a post without a photo, here is a photo of me with my beloved contax G2 taken by renee from nfe designs.  this was taken in february this year at a jesh concert in the las vegas desert at sunrise.  we were there attending the wppi conference (wedding and portrait photographers international conference)…  wppi was amazing but that too, is another blog post, for another day!


June 10, 2011 - 12:54 am

Sara Rosetta - Oh you are such a beautiful sweetheart Hope you find the time to shoot more for yourself. x

June 10, 2011 - 1:13 am

Leah Kua - Can’t wait for part 2 🙂

June 10, 2011 - 1:30 am

Rikki - Love this and love learning a little more about you – you are truly inspirational ♥

June 10, 2011 - 1:40 am

Mish Koh - Hey Rowe, thanks for sharing! I’ll have to bring you some of my old film which is still in my fridge when I see you next week! Get better… and take care 🙂 p.s your journey has been amazing!

June 10, 2011 - 1:48 am

Andrena - Looking forward to tomorrow!

June 10, 2011 - 2:37 am

Kirsty-Abu Dhabi - Bring on part 2 – I need to hear more of the journey xx

June 10, 2011 - 5:08 am

Angela Louise - Awesome post Rowe! Will be popping back to indulge in part two xx

June 10, 2011 - 5:15 am

Angie Baxter - Love your post, love you – can’t wait for part 2. And p.s. I studied at Nature Care too 🙂 Wonder if we were there at the same time! xxx

June 10, 2011 - 5:05 pm

margo - Well, Well well! Finally a post about you!!! and how special you are!!!!! Love this , makes me teary! And how very proud I am of you and your journey! I too remember all those days, all those divine photos….all those proud..lump in your throat moments when we opened the photos from the labs..and I remember my gasp for breathe knowing how great you were….Kerry and I always knew….I too loved the corny moments of me going to the bookstore and buying 3 copies of a magazine, just so I could tell them my daughter is a photographer…a F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C. photographer. lol …such a stage mother….I have so much to say here I need a part 2 post I think… Get better soon……xxx mummy…maybe one day you can shoot us when you get time . now I am really lol

June 10, 2011 - 5:07 pm

margo - I also forgot to say I looooove that photo of you.
mummy xxx

June 11, 2011 - 2:13 am

Kristen - So beautifully said Rowe, your passion for what you do comes across so clearly. That you have followed your dreams that started way back in high school is something to be so very proud of. What a journey, can’t wait for Part 2 xx

June 11, 2011 - 4:42 am

Steph - Some of those feelings are so similar to mine..the hours in a dark room when I should have been studying something else..the collection of dusty old film cameras and oontact sheets, and the secret knowledge that photography is what makes me happiest. You’ve long inspired me with your talent Rowe…hearing about your journey to the place that makes your heart sing gives me hope that I’ll get there too. Thanks for sharing!

June 11, 2011 - 4:51 am

Robyn Geering - Oh my, look at you gorgeous thing. Such a gorgeous photo.

June 11, 2011 - 4:57 am

Robyn Geering - and now I am hanging for part 2.

By the way, I soooo, techically challenged to lol.

June 11, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Kelly Durie - Me too, I am with your Mum, I love that photo of you!
I can so remember coming over all the time and you had pictures spread all over the coffee table in the lounge room, then we would go into the kitchen to make a tea and there were more all over the dining room table! I loved seeing them in the raw than on a screen. Technology is great but it takes away something doesn’t it!
I am looking forward to part two of this post too xx

June 13, 2011 - 5:22 am

Sharon Gagan - Rowe I always love looking at your photos Ithought it was time to leave a comment and say I am so proud of my cousin .I really like the photo of yourself you are so lucky to have travelled to so many wonderful places to fulfil your dream of photography look forward to part 2 love always Sharon xxxxxxxxxx

June 13, 2011 - 11:55 pm

yan palmer - ahhh! can’t wait to read part 2! i really really enjoyed this row. thanks for opening up, and my gosh, you are a pretty thing. xo, yan

June 14, 2011 - 9:31 am

Ange - So cool to read about how you got to where you are today. This photo makes me wish I went to that concert….just couldn’t get out of bed 🙂 xx

June 19, 2011 - 10:47 pm

emma - So beautiful to read your thoughts, dreams, history and the journey to where you are now, Rowe. It’s inspiring and has reminded me that I, we all must, follow our heart & dreams. Thank you for sharing this and I look forward to reading so much more about you, from you. You are an angelic soul indeed . . . em x x

June 19, 2011 - 10:48 pm

emma - Oh yeah, forgot to mention – you look hot in this photo!
What a rockin’ portrait indeed!! x x

July 8, 2011 - 4:26 am

janine - how did miss this?! i feel like i know so much more about you. off to read part deux. xo

July 9, 2011 - 6:32 am

Thatgirlblogs - Film. That’s retro-hardcore :). Jealous of your talents.

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