Coffee with... Alberni photographer Pauline Hannaford
Some people tell stories using pen and paper, while others however use other ways to accomplish the same thing.
Port Alberni resident Pauline Hannaford’s picture exhibit — All Creatures Great and Small — is just wrapping up at the Rollin Art Centre.
Hannford has been taking pictures since she came to Canada from England in 1975.
She was born in Bedfordshire and at age 7 moved to Coddington where she grew up.
“My earliest memories there are of taking long walks in the countryside and playing in farmer’s fields,” Hannaford said. “It was good fun — good, safe kid stuff.”
Hannaford attended Coddington Voluntary Primary school then Kingsbury Grammar School.
Her favourite subjects were history, biology and art, and her favourite teacher was her history teacher and head mistress Ms. Millbank.
“She cared for young people and the way she taught history was interesting,” Hannaford said. “I never saw her again after I left school but I was left with an interest in history.”
Hannaford wanted to be an archaeologist while growing up but didn’t have the money to pursue it after grammar school.
Instead, she attended Dunstable College of Further Education, which taught secretarial and management courses. “It’s was the equivalent of North Island College here in Port Alberni,” Hannaford said.
She also honed her photography skills, something she took up at age 7 and never let go of.
Her first camera was a box camera before she graduated to a point and shoot. When she saved enough money she bought a second-hand Pentax Spotmatic with lenses.
She continued to use film until eight years ago when she switched to digital. She wasn’t sure about digitial but liked the medium and saw its potential after she first tried it.
“I still take a few pictures with film but you’re restricted by the amount of film you can buy and by lighting,” Hannaford said. “I like the immediacy of digital — you can look at it straight away.”
Everyone is capable of learning the fundamentals of photography but some people just have an eye for it. “If you have good equipment but no eye you’ll never come up with a good picture,” she said.
Hannaford has shot pictures twice of Formula One car test racing in Northhamptonshire, England as well. “I was allowed to go anywhere I wanted – that was an absolutely fantastic experience,” Hannaford said.
The best part of taking pictures is being in and experiencing the subject’s environment. The most challenging part of photography is finding the right lighting when in that environment, Hannaford said.
The best advice she can give budding shooters can be found in a book. “Read your manual, read your manual and read your manual,” she said.