Stuart McAllister A Photographic Journal

Fractions of Time

…borrowed, never to be returned…

How it started: The Passion.

My dad had a 35mm camera that he bought in Germany while doing his National Service in the early 1960’s, in a box, in a loft.  I have memories of being handed this camera at an early age and told what to do:

“Look through here, make sure you can see your mum and me and then press this button.”

Turns out I was great at feet shots and forehead shots, anything in the middle was a bit of hit or miss to be honest.  It wasn’t long before that responsibility was taken from me.

A friend had been given a 35mm SLR for his birthday, 16th birthday I am sure.  I was fascinated by the creativity of what this box of tricks could create.  A short stint at college on an engineering course I spotted a fellow student taking photographs of us sitting at lunch, feeding time at the zoo.  I got chatting to him, double exposures, ISO, film grain, over and under exposure, long exposure, motion trails.  It was like a new language to me, one that was worth learning.

A few years passed and off I went to America to visit family.  I saw the beauty of photography on the walls of my cousin’s house.  Beautiful photographs taken by his wife, a creative and talented lady.

At 19 I picked up my first Canon SLR with a nasty 50mm lens and started on my journey. 

I would say that 99% of those early photographs no longer exist, that’s another story.  When I look back at the archives of old work that I do still have, it is hard viewing.  The truth of the matter is tho, we all must take that first step of a journey no matter how hard it is, one step then another, then another and so on.

I would like to acknowledge William Hamilton, a fantastic, eccentric, friend who helped me find my feet in the early days.  A good friend who is sadly missed.

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”

Man Ray

How it continues: My Aim

Over a 35 love affair with photography I have amassed 10’s of 1000’s of photographs and have lost even more to failed technology and drives being “accidently” lost or wiped!  

In late 2021 I came across 2 drives that fell in the category “accidentally formatted” that had been stored away in a box for a good number of years.  Curiosity got the better of me and with the help of recovery software I spent weeks deep scanning these 2 drives, also an old iMac and MacBook Pro.

Granted that a large percentage of the 230k photos recovered were duplicates and duplicates of duplicates, sifting through them was going to prove an a massive task.

MY AIM is to build up a portfolio of work, a journal through time of photographs, some that were lost and now found, some that were never lost and over the course of the coming year some fresh new work.

The passion continues.

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

– Camille Pissarro

My Journal