by Mike Williams Published 01/01/2003
The only thing that can change from one photographer to the other is in technical ability, I feel that in my career that I have gone past that scenario and I want to create work that cannot be compared with other photographers. I want to harmonise between the client and myself - between us we will produce the product that is desirable. That way I will gain the reputation of producing not just fine photographs but images that truly satisfy the client Mike Williams LSWPP
Based in Trelogan a small hilltop village in North Wales, Mike has run his successful wedding and portrait business for over twenty years. He is a full time professional photographer, undertaking commissions largely attracted by his reputation for quality and an almost unique attention to detail.
Coming in to the business through the amateur route, Mike doesn't recall one particular social photographer who influenced him in his early days though he had always admired the superb work of Ansel Adams.
Originally a joiner by trade, he found the failing building industry in the 70's somewhat lacking and being a keen photographer and a Rhyl Camera Club member, he was asked by one of his work mates to photograph a family wedding. Having plucked up the courage to take on this job Mike soon realised that taking on other work would be an ideal way to finance his purchase more professional equipment.
One of Mike's first camera purchases was an Agfa Silette F 35mm; however this was not his very first he owned, that being a Ross Ensign 620 Bellows Camera, given to him by an uncle. The first pictures where a disaster, so he went around to a local photographer and asked if he had a processing kit. It cost one pound, ten shillings, with no instructions, the photographer just said "take this home and try it". A friend of his, who was an industrial chemist, pointed out that the developer was to start it and the fixer to stop it. So that night Mike made his first print and any photographer who has made his own prints will recall that magic moment when you print your first image emerges into the red gloom. From that point on Mike was hooked for life.
Graduating from the Afga Silette F Mike bought a Canon FP 35mm SLR, though even this high tech camera did not have a built-in light meter and suddenly this made everything else he had used before it obsolete.
Mike didn't necessarily intend becoming a professional photographer in the early days, though the money that he was making allowed him to invest in the best equipment. He bought a second Canon, a Mamyia RB 67 and upgraded all his enlarging and darkroom equipment. He had started photographing weddings on the 35 mm, however with the introduction of the 'RB' he was able to produce work of a much higher standard.
His studio, he recollects, started with a promotion by 'Stork Margarine' though at the time he did not have his own studio, therefore his sittings had to be shot at his client's home. Travelling from one sitting to another on his motorcycle, Mike's equipment had to be kept to a minimum, for flash he used a Metz CT60 with an adaptor to put a small brolly on. He also used a small reflector, all of which fitted in a small box on the back of his bike.
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