Charterhouse - How I started night photography [1981-83]


This entire website, and the images in it, ultimately owe their creation to my time at Charterhouse School decades ago.   I became interested in night photography by accident really. It all started with me (uncharacteristically!) going on a very early morning run with another pupil who was interested in astronomy.   While we were out he pointed out Mars in the morning sky, and I was amazed that anyone could go out, look up and just see the planets!   Up until that moment I was ignorant indeed, thinking that without a massive telescope not much would be visible to me.

This incident led to me discovering a deep interest in astronomy and I decided I wanted to record the stars and planets with a camera.   In particular I remember taking a photograph of Cassiopeia rising over a group of trees in our garden at home, purely as a record shot. When the film came back from the lab the trees came out orange because of street lighting and I couldn't believe the effect! My school's art department was very imaginatively run and really encouraged my photography (click
here for a photo of my first camera outfit). I basically spent all my free time for the next two years either looking at the night sky or taking photographs. Even today the smell of hypo (fixer) instantly takes me back to the Studio darkroom.   At the time I was also really lucky to have access to a good observatory.

I have resurrected seven favourite shots from that time at Charterhouse (1981-83), these images have basically spent two decades in a drawer. Looking at them now it seems like they were taken by somebody else, so much time has gone by, but I confess they still give me pleasure.

I returned to photograph the school in 1991 but felt held back by the limitations of film, particularly as I wanted to show the stars as points of light.   On this visit therefore I only had
partial success, but was eventually able to return with digital equipment years later.


Buckingham - Student photography while an undergraduate [1984-86]