It is never too late in life to try something new and with determination and the right skills you will succeed.Linda Gould , Artist Photographer, United Kingdom
Linda was born in Northampton, UK and she had a traditional and happy childhood. Linda was and still is a very competitive person – she always wanted to be top of the class at school – second was not good enough – and that competitive and determined streak is still very much in evidence in her later years. Her school years were spent at an all girls school and then she went to university in London to a female college that was opening its doors to male students for the first time which made for interesting social situations.
Linda’s father travelled widely as part of his job – this was in the days when it took a week to get to Australia by plane with multiple stops on the way. The family would follow his progress on a big map marked with pins. In the days before social media there would be no communication from him for weeks apart from postcards – and he would return with stories and photographs from his travels which is where Linda got her interest in travel and photography from. At university, when Linda stated that she wanted to go into a career in business her tutors gave up on her as all students were encouraged to go into teaching or research but despite this, Linda persisted and got onto the career ladder in the then fledgling IT industry.
Sovereign went on to find out why photography brings a sense of awareness to Linda’s life.
What did you do before becoming a photographer?
After attending London University and obtaining a degree in Mathematics, I had a career in IT starting as a computer programmer through a graduate training program. My last two roles were as UK IT Manager for international construction companies. IT was at this time a very male oriented profession and add to this the male dominated construction industry – I became very used to being the only woman at events and in meetings. I had to learn to stand up for myself and make sure I had a voice!
What made you change your career?
I was made redundant from my last IT management position as part of a global outsourcing deal. I decided that I wanted to do something for myself and so I took retirement and I haven’t even considered going back into the corporate world since then. My friends said I would only last a few months before I became bored with this change of direction but I have proved them wrong and I am busy, fulfilled and happy with my new life.
What made you choose photography ?
I have always had an interest in photography and at the age of 11, I saved all my pocket money for months to buy what was then an expensive camera – a Kodak Retinette 1A. This was a camera where you needed to understand the controls (aperture, speed, focal length to name a few) as it was all manual – nothing like the automatic cameras that we use in today’s digital world. I still have this camera and I will always treasure it.
What steps did you take to improve your photography?
Before I retired, I always took photographs on holidays and at family events but this was a hobby and nothing really serious. I invested in a digital camera and I then had to learn to use it properly. So I attended the Full Time Professional Photography Course run by the London School of Photography. This is a six month course with modules covering all different aspects of photography – learning about the features of the camera, composition, subject matter, lighting etc. A lot of the course was hands on and I became much more confident behind the camera and more able to tackle different subjects. I also joined my local camera club – the Amersham Photographic Society – and I was introduced to the world of serious photographers (mainly male) and the competition judges. I realised that I had a lot to learn!
What did you do next after completing your course?
I now had to try and put all this photography knowledge to some use. One of my passions is animals so I thought I would try and combine this with photography by becoming a Pet Photographer. I started by taking photos at local dog shows and photographs of friend’s pets but despite some advertising locally, I quickly realised that this was not really going to be a viable business venture. I then charmed my way into becoming a volunteer photographer for my local Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre. Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK and I take photographs for their web site and at their fund raising events.
How did you get into Event Photography?
Very soon after I retired, I started volunteering at Amersham Museum – a very exciting modern local history museum close to where I live. At my interview, we discussed what interests I have and that was the start of my event photography. I have taken photographs at many museum events – they tease me about always turning up with my camera. I also steward at the museum, help with school visits, tend the garden and photograph items that are donated for the collection. My work at the Museum has led to invitations to photograph at a variety of other local events in Amersham.
How did you get involved with the Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN)?
The London School of Photography posts details for their students of organisations who require a photographer for events and in 2014 I responded to a request from GWIIN for a photographer for their annual awards ceremony. GWIIN is an organisation close to my heart particularly given my experience as a woman in the corporate world and I like to think that my photographs and experience can assist the ladies starting out on their careers in business. I have kept in touch with Dr Bola Olabisi Founder & CEO of GWIIN and I have just spent two wonderful days photographing the GWIIN 2019 Conference and Awards Ceremonies.
In these days where everyone takes photos all the time, how can your photography make a difference?
My photography is non commercial – I concentrate on events for charities and nonprofit making organisations who normally cannot afford to hire a professional photographer. Photographs are one of the main ways to publicise and promote an organisation so they are really important. I aim to produce photographs which portray the spirit of an event and which are finished to a professional standard suitable for publication on social media and web sites.
Do you have any other photographic interests apart from event photography?
I have two other passions as well as photography – travel and animals (particularly big cats). I have visited India six times over the last few years – it is a paradise for a street photographer with all the colours and excitement of the amazing locations. And the people in India really love to have their photographs taken which is not the case now in many places in Europe where street photography is very difficult due to regulations. In 2018 I volunteered at a big cat sanctuary in South Africa where I could photograph cheetahs and other big cats close up. That was an amazing experience!
What is your key message to Sovereign Magazine’s readers?
I would say that it is never too late in life to try something new and with determination and the right skills you will succeed.