In 2001 Melanie Dixson and I met at a wedding. Melanie was the photographer. I was the best man.
Over coffee some weeks later we realized that between us we covered a lot of photography bases not well addressed in the market. At that time Melanie was a leading New Zealand hand printer, regularly printing glass plates for the Alexander Turnbull Library, photographic murals for Te Papa, and colour and B&W prints for many of NZ’s top professional photographers. She was a darkroom expert, and an excellent shooter to boot! We both loved film, and we both recognised that a photographic digital revolution was beginning.
That same year I was developing an on-line image library for a company called Image Source, at a time when most photo libraries were still bricks and mortar affairs. Typical image libraries in 2001 had rows of filing cabinets full of transparency film (slides) in plastic sleeves. Image libraries would receive a brief from a design company, hunt through their drawers and then courier a selection of possible slides to the design company to choose from. Some libraries scanned the slides and emailed proofs to their clients. Design companies had expensive flatbed scanners to scan the chosen images. There were no smart phones, and most NZ homes had dial-up internet.
A year earlier, in Sept 2000, I had bought my third digital camera. It was a $5,000 Olympus E10 professional unit with a fixed f2 lens, boasting an enormous 4 megapixel resolution. Canon released the EOS D30 a few months later, similar to the EOS 30 consumer level film body, but with a 3 megapixel CMOS image sensor, an excellent and affordable camera well ahead of its time.
I remember suggesting to pro photographers that it was simply a matter of time before digital cameras would displace traditional film, but for the most part, they said things like “digital could never replace film”. I guess those photographers were unable to imagine what they hadn’t yet seen. Technology can be like that.
Melanie and I were both capable shooters, and between us we comprehensively covered the bases of traditional photography as well as the emerging digital upstart. We saw a path of opportunity and adventure ahead. We set up a professional studio at Inverlochy Art School, and for over a decade we had an absolute ball dominating our chosen section of the Wellington market.
Wielding a camera took up more and more of my billable hours, IT consulting came second. In 2008 we developed Photography Tutor, an iPhone app. In 2011 I designed an iPad centric medical practice management solution. I guess the technology bug never completely stops biting!
Somewhere along the way Melanie and I began holding hands, and we now have two small children, the younger of whom is about to begin school, a 4 year old dab hand at iPhone photography!
BTW, regarding the iPhone family selfie above, no, we have no idea who the person reflected in our sunglasses is!
Any-who, what about the fish? Well, I love photography, but my true passion continues to be technology. The more things change the more they stay the same. It is 2017, before we know it Mr Robot will have joined Serenity, Firefly, Bladerunner, and Douglas Adams, until they come around again, cool as a RetroPi. And yes, there is yet another different technology explosion beginning, and that’s where my heart is leading me.
Melanie has been progressively taking over the photography reins, giving me space to pursue new technologies. I still love to shoot, and will be Melanie’s photography assistant whenever I can. I hope to see you out there!
Please visit: www.thephoto.nz