Meet the OUTLAW – John Hodgkinson

Years in Photography, c. 50yrs

My father often took photographs of the family as I was growing up and I had my first camera, a Kodak 44A, in my early teens.  The camera used 127 size roll films and produced 12 x 44mm square negatives per film.  My interests developed and I progressed to 35mm and then, around 1964 to an early SLR, a Yashica Penta J.

It had no built in meter, no motor wind and (of course), no auto focus.  The lens was a 50mm F2.0 semi automatic iris Yashinon lens and, before taking a picture, the iris had to be opened manually for focusing.  When the shutter was released, the iris would automatically close down and then had to be re-opened for the next shot.  I thought the camera was pretty amazing at the time as the viewfinder showed exactly what could be seen and would appear on the negative.  While living with my parents, I got into processing B&W in their spare bedroom using an enlarger built by my father and I but the only colour processing I did was developing and mounting transparency films.

Over the years, my interest has been maintained, and I advanced to an Olympus OM1 (beautiful camera) and an OM2 with a few lenses.  The arrival of Digital and Photoshop was a revelation which finally enabled me to ‘process’ colour.  I traded everything in for a Canon G1 (around £650 at that time) and from there progressed to a Canon 10D SLR.  Big mistake and I wish I had kept at least the OM1 and standard lens.  Not a regret switching to digital though and, at the time, I could not justify the cost of the G1.  I still use Canon gear now with a few lenses, a 7D for ‘proper’ photography and a 650D for holidays and general out and about.  My G1 has also progressed to a G10 which is a great inconspicuous pocket size all rounder.  I love the 7D –  like the OM1, it just seems ‘right’.

The Outlaws is the first camera club I have joined and I did so with the encouragement of my eldest son, Philip.  I have to admit to being very impressed by the work I have seen produced by other members and hope that some of their talent will rub off.  My photographic interests are pretty eclectic but most that I take are Landscapes, People (street rather than studio) and, of late, Macro.  I guess as a legacy from my film camera days, I try to minimise the number of shots I take and spend more time looking rather than just firing away and hoping that something worthwhile will be in there.  I can’t resist Photoshop and Lightroom though, as to me, the final image should be what I perceived, rather than what was there, so few that I take are not subject to some editing.  There are always things to learn about these programs but on photographic technique I have, of late, been drawn to looking at the works of some of the greats including those from the past such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, William Klein, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, William Eggleston etc to name but a few.  I have also enjoyed reading the book trilogy by Bruce Barnbaum which are entirely devoted to technique.

Like everyone else, my biggest constraint is time, even though my wife and I are retired.  With three sons, five grandchildren and various other children that regard us as their grandparents, we always seem to be busy but the enthusiasm shown by the Outlaws’ members is sure to get me motivated.


I have photos on Flickr :   John Hodgkinson  –

John’s Gallery