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If I could start again...


MarkW
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The first thing I remember wanting to be as a boy was a war photographer. My father was a keen amateur photographer, and I spent hours in the darkroom with him, watching how film was processed and how prints were made. I would say that my presence was barely tolerated rather than actively encouraged, but I still learned a lot. Then fortune smiled on me when the worthless bast*rd kicked the bucket a year or two later and I inherited all his gear. Result! :lol:


One year, for Christmas or his birthday, I had bought him "Creative Photography" by Michael Busselle. I have it open on the table in front of me now. On page 165 is an image that gripped me from the first moment I saw it. It's called 'Aid from the padre' and was taken by Hector Lovera in Venezuela in 1962 during the brief military revolt against the government:


 

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Moments after this shot was taken the chaplain was driven back by a burst of machine gun fire, and the badly wounded soldier was killed. The caption in the book reads "The brilliance of the picture lies in the fact that it tells the entire story by itself; words can merely add supporting facts and figures." That was it - that one image captivated me completely, and I decided I wanted to take pictures like that - powerful images that had something meaningful to say about our inhumanity to our fellow man. Then I became an entomologist.


I still shoot and process a lot of black and white film and make my own prints, but unlike my old man I love having my kids share the experience with me - my ten year old asked for a film camera the Christmas before last, and he loves it. But looking back I'm not really sure at what point I chose to take a different path; there was no clear defining moment. And whenever I look at iconic images, particularly from Vietnam - Don McCullin's shell-shocked marine, Nick Ut's napalm girl or Eddie Adams' Saigon execution to pick just three of the most famous - I can't help thinking that if I had my time again I'd choose photography over entomology, and actually spend my time doing something meaningful and worthwhile instead of being mired in the pointless and interminable bullshit I currently have to deal with.


And with that, over to you. If you could make a living doing something other than what you currently do, what would it be?

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I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger! :shock:

circumstances prevented me from staying on at school.

The only thing I want to be now is retired! :lol:

 

Now healthcare is something I always knew I wasn't cut out for: being ill makes me cross, and so does being around ill people - I'd just tell most of them to stop being so mard and pull themselves together. :D


One of my friends is a proctologist. She says when she joined the NHS she started at the bottom and stayed there. God alone knows how you motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning knowing that's what the day has in store for you... :booty:


Retirement sounds very attractive though. Only another 20+ years to go... :crybaby:

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F*ck me you do throw some curve balls.

I’m reading it completely sold and then remember it’s you and wait for the punchline. Then there wasnt one.


If I was choosing again I like to think I would have chosen the route I have taken -apart from my parents bollo about not getting a mobike!

....but if I was looking at what really floated my boat when I was younger it was activism. Instead of choosing something that I had a loud calling to for years I politely dumbed myself down to a socially acceptable level and then realised it doesn’t work anyway. A muted version of yourself is a waste.

Having said that it gave me an appreciation of mild mannered folk and some empathy for others that may not have naturally been there. Who knows.


Overall it’s all panned out well. As we say down this way- tis wot tis.

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F*ck me you do throw some curve balls.

I’m reading it completely sold and then remember it’s you and wait for the punchline. Then there wasnt one.

 

I do have the occasional sensible moment you know! :wink:


On the other hand, I was called in to see my youngest son's teacher after Christmas for what was correctly assumed to be the slightly inebriated help I had given him with his homework over the holidays. They had been doing a project on famous speeches and the people who made them, and one question asked what the most famous part of the Gettysburg Address was. Suffice to say it wasn't "And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us." Nor were they particularly amused to read that Martin Luther King said "I have a bream" and was the emancipation movements first celebrity angler. Christ knows how many bottles that was after... :oops:

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When I was a wee lad I saw that photograph and I wanted to do whatever inspired that padre to be there holding that wounded man.


Being a obstinate bugger that's precisely what I stuck to. And yes, I did end up on the wrong end of an automatic weapon and holding a man the soldiers wanted to shoot.


The only difference was that because I held British passport and was in what was then Zaire my disappearance would have caused them problems so we got the guy out of there.


Most of the rest of the time it is more mundane but just as challenging. I once held a council pen pusher hostage in a decrepit school hall until he signed off the fact that our kids where being taught in a building that was 100% fireproof because it was made of asbestos and riddled with damp. He threatened to call the police, I offered to call the BBC to film my arrest.


We got a new school as a result.

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Since ever I can remember I wanted to work with animals. Like everyone person wanted to work with animals,, I thought I'd like to be a vet. At 14 I spent a week in a vets practice for work experience. First afternoon there I "helped" amputate a cat's ears to stop the spread of cancer. I decided then I wanted to work with animals, not on them!

I thought about police dog handling, but you need to be a police officer for decades before they even entertain giving you a dog. I thought about army dog handler, but my questioning nature and reluctantance to carry out requests without fully understanding why would not sit well in the forces.

I then looked at guide dogs for the blind when I was 17. Spoke at length with them and they said as most people who get guide dogs are older, it would probably be wise to wait untill I am 30+ to apply...

So I went into IT. My love for animals remains, but I keep pets and that is it.

When I was 23, one of my colleagues went blind very quickly. She managed to get a guide dog, which was fantastic for her. we worked in a school so the dog came for many visits to make sure it would not react to the chaos of a secondary school. My colleague knew of my previous wish to be a guide dog trainer and mentioned this to her assessor. Who then enlightened me to the fact more and more teenagers and young people are getting guide dogs now and they are crying out for younger trainers!


Oh well.... There is still time for me to change professions I guess

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When I was a wee lad I saw that photograph and I wanted to do whatever inspired that padre to be there holding that wounded man.

 

Well fancy that! That's really interesting: two people seeing the same photo and being inspired to make life choices by it - even if only one of us did actually see it through...

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I did some assessment thing at school, to suggest a career and mine came back as a cameraman. It was suggested that was a good way to travel and to see the world, but be aware it may involve working in war zones! I think it came as a suggestion because I had ticked boxes such as travel, work outside, not afraid of danger. There was even a plan that I would go for some work experience at the BBC, as BBC Scotland was only a couple of miles away from the school.


But if I could really start again, I would have done the law degree I was accepted for and become a lawyer, rather than a policeman.

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Unfortunately I was to young , but I’d of definitely gone down the route of armed robbery during the 1970’s ... all wages was paid in cash no video cameras and I’d of gone about my business in an old Jag.

Edited by Six30
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Good read, Mark.


Like you, if I could start over I'd be a photographer now (I actually have a photography website here, FWIW). For a few years when I was younger I worked as a semi-pro, doing lots of weddings and portraits but never actually being good enough (or, perhaps, committed enough) to crack the sector I wanted to get into, which back then was editorial. Now, I think I'd focus on documenting the human condition through a mixture of street photography and whatever special projects took my fancy. Or maybe travel the world documenting the beauty of this planet of ours.


All that is academic, of course, as I'm an old(ish) git who earns his meagre living as a management consultant.

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Like Throttled I had a place at uni to do law. I went for a soldier instead but for various reasons ended up going away to sea. Been doing that for 40 years and to be honest I can't think of anything I'd rather do. It pays well enough and I only have to work for half the year. Not as good as it was though with 'dry' ships and ever increasing BS paperwork and ever decreasing opportunities to go ashore in the various countries I visit.

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Crikey you need to stop helping with the homework, they might get a good grade just using Uncle Google.

 

I do redeem myself occasionally, though. When we took my ten year-old to the open day at the local high school last year to see if it was somewhere he wanted to go, he astounded the science teacher who was giving a demonstration with cornflour and water:


Now then kids, watch what happens when I stir this cornflour paste really hard: see - it's gone stiff. Can anyone explain?


- It's a non-Newtonian fluid. Cornflour is rheopectic because it gets thicker when you apply shear stress to it. If it got more runny, like ketchup, it would be thixotropic.


:shock:

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I grew up wanting to be an engineer and that's what I've become...


That said, I'd pull my finger out and go into physics if I could do it again. I'd want to be an astronaut. But failing that I'd become a pilot, as I'm told I have the right qualities to be a good one.

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Crikey you need to stop helping with the homework, they might get a good grade just using Uncle Google.

 

I do redeem myself occasionally, though. When we took my ten year-old to the open day at the local high school last year to see if it was somewhere he wanted to go, he astounded the science teacher who was giving a demonstration with cornflour and water:


Now then kids, watch what happens when I stir this cornflour paste really hard: see - it's gone stiff. Can anyone explain?


- It's a non-Newtonian fluid. Cornflour is rheopectic because it gets thicker when you apply shear stress to it. If it got more runny, like ketchup, it would be thixotropic.


:shock:

 

All power to your babes elbow.

As someone who this morning skim read their sons DT project for typos and anything incomprehensible I can safely say I have completely failed as a parent in this area. His GCSE final piece over 24 pages mentions not once the physical properties of any of the materials he was using nor names a single process 😬


It made me laugh a lot so hopefully they hand out marks for entertainment value -


“If I was doing this project again I would approach it slightly differently eg whilst using a saw it is a good idea to keep your mouth shut to stop it filling with sawdust”


:shock: :lol:

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I grew up wanting to be an engineer and that's what I've become...


That said, I'd pull my finger out and go into physics if I could do it again. I'd want to be an astronaut. But failing that I'd become a pilot, as I'm told I have the right qualities to be a good one.

 

I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I was in the air cadets and did a load of flying. I did a bunch of tests and was told I stood a good chance of being a fast jet pilot but that I should goto uni first and get my degree in physics..


Whilst at uni I had far too much fun and decided military life wouldn't be for me after all. I got my physics degree and fell into software development jobs...


It would have been great to fly jet fighters but then when I watch the TV documentaries about the red arrows etc, I look at the blokes who fly them and I really don't see myself fitting in with them so I reckon I made the right choice..


One thing I'd say though is that I had no idea what jobs were available when I was in school. I had no idea about the city of London or financial software or anything that I find myself doing on a daily basis now. I wonder if kids these days are equally in the dark about their future job prospects?

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I grew up wanting to be an engineer and that's what I've become...


That said, I'd pull my finger out and go into physics if I could do it again. I'd want to be an astronaut. But failing that I'd become a pilot, as I'm told I have the right qualities to be a good one.

 

I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I was in the air cadets and did a load of flying. I did a bunch of tests and was told I stood a good chance of being a fast jet pilot but that I should goto uni first and get my degree in physics..


Whilst at uni I had far too much fun and decided military life wouldn't be for me after all. I got my physics degree and fell into software development jobs...


It would have been great to fly jet fighters but then when I watch the TV documentaries about the red arrows etc, I look at the blokes who fly them and I really don't see myself fitting in with them so I reckon I made the right choice..


One thing I'd say though is that I had no idea what jobs were available when I was in school. I had no idea about the city of London or financial software or anything that I find myself doing on a daily basis now. I wonder if kids these days are equally in the dark about their future job prospects?

 

Pretty much yes. The careers advisors are clueless themselves and they get directed to an online programme that suggests a job for them :?

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I went for a soldier instead but for various reasons ended up going away to sea.

 

You sure you weren't in the 'Navy' queue? :D

 

Nope I spent 6 months learning how to shoot people. Never needed that particular skill set since although may have been tempted when Somali pirates were being a nuisance.

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