While I was studying at Blackpool for my BA(Hons) Photography having researched Ansel Adams and discovered his first camera was a box brownie, I was curious about this box that was so popular in that era. As I researched out that camera I began to dream of owning one but I thought they were no longer in use or in working condition seeing they were from the 1950's.
Just on the run up to my birthday a few years ago a friend sent me a text saying they'd got me a few cameras for my birthday and they were certain that I'd like them...unknown to them that I'd always wanted to own a box brownie since I discovered them while studying a few years previously.
However a package arrived and I opened it on my birthday it was a box brownie and a brownie reflex I was overjoyed with them. Also I wasn't sure if the cameras worked. I googled both camera's and found manuals online.
I had to research as to finding film for the camera's but I thought no way it's impossible as the camera's are about 60+ years old.
After researching for rare films I found a company who produced film for both camera's. I was so excited and ordered one black and white and one coloured for the camera's.
When the film arrived I excitedly went out for the day testing the cameras's out. No doubt I finished the films quickly that day and posted them off for developing and I waited excittidley on them being returned.
When I received them back it was a learning curve with one camera as some of the photos were out of focus or I moved the camera as I pressed the shutter which resulted in what looks like a double exposure. I needed something to hold that camera steady as my tripod wouldn't take the camera so a friend made a wooden block which I could attach to my tripod and I can steady the camera.
The other camera was a joy the photos were good but I didn't realise how good they were until I submitted a few of them for a upcoming exhibition at the University Centre where I did my BA(Hons) and they were accepted to be shown.
Myself and a friend who was also exhibiting at the same show went along to see the work up on display, the college kindly offered to print my work which I accepted. When I went along to the opening day my friend got there before me she sent me a text saying "you've stolen the show" as your work is amazing. I honestly didn't know what to expect so I hurried along the street to get to the college.
Upon arrival I walked in through the automatic doors and saw my photographs you couldn't miss them they were 1 meter in size each. As I looked on at them I could't find words to speak it was a moment that stopped me. The photos looked like they'd been taken years ago yet I'd only shot them about four weeks prior to the exhibition.
It was a new journey. As a result of that show I exhibited five times that year and this work was well received among professionals as well as the general public. I was given the opportunity to show it once again in Manchester under the curator Liz Ball who shows work through her company "Iris". Having shown this work through Liz quite a number of tutors from the Manchester and surrounding area's viewed my work alongside other artists it was at this event another photographer saw my work and called me the 'BrownieGirl'.
So my name began to circulate amongst professionals as the 'BrownieGirl' because of the cameras I used.
Some of my brownie work was also featured on the BBC News website under their Magazine titled 'The best box ever made'.
It was the start of something new...
I will share more work soon from the Brownie Camera's.