At last, my formal introduction
After more than a year of lurking is the shadows of APUG and Photo.net I have decided that is time to actively participate in these wonderful and interesting communities.
My name: Richard John-Henry Boutwell
Occupation: assistant and apprentice to Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee
Place of residence: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Brief self description: A willfully displaced Southern Californian desert rat living on the wrong coast--learning how to live as everyone dreams, but rarely does.
After beginning as a musician, I was surprised when I found photographs to be my true form of creative expression. Directly out of high school I was offered a chance to be a working jazz bassist in New Orleans. I thought my dreams were coming true and I spent the majority of my time preparing for the move from where I grew up, in the desert of Southern California.
The majority of that summer was spent practicing, sometime during which, I was given a 35 mm camera. After that, my time was spent doing things other than music--mainly hiking and taking pictures. I thought I could put off the move until I learned a little about photography. That was a roughly four years ago, and in those four years I all but quit music. I went from using a 35mm camera and getting color, one-hour prints, to exclusively making black and white contact prints-mostly with an 8x10 inch view camera.
A little more than two years ago, while living in the small town of Joshua Tree, California I got yet another, equally great opportunity to move across the county. This time to work as the assistant and apprentice to two master photographers, Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. There was no question that this was the right thing for me to do. Within two weeks I quit my job and drove what would be the first of six cross-country trips that year. Working for them has found me in the darkroom and in the kitchen, all the way to Baja California and most recently, Iceland. Not only have I learned camera and darkroom skills, but I am learning what it really means to be an artist--and what it means to be truly alive.
Last edited by Richard Boutwell; 09-24-2004 at 12:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
welcome. I am sure we will both enjoy and benefit from your participation. BTW remind MAS of the deal we had about the weston book. i haven't heard from him.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
I'm new to APUG too, and only lurked for about two months before jumping in! It sounds like you've had a great opportunity these past couple of years, and I'm looking forward to seeing your work in the galleries. Welcome!
Welcome! All those years of lugging the bass around should make the 8x10" camera feel like an instamatic.
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Do you play at all anymore? If so, please give it all up, move to Minneapolis, and be in my trio! I need a bass player; right now it's just saxophones (me - tenor and sop) and drums...
Seriously, congrats on following your heart/dreams/whatever-you-call-it. I allowed my "day job" to slip into a "career" somehow...
Wow! Geez there's nothing more to say! Welcome to the forum! Looking forward to your pictures in the gallery and your posts to the forum!
Welcome to the forum Richard.
Just a question to satisfy my curiousity, how did you become assistant to Michael and Paula? Its not the sort of position that comes available on the open market, or if it is I always missed them
Hope you enjoy the forum, post some picture and pass on tips where appropriate
It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.
The short version . . .
I basically walked up to him and asked how they hired assistants.
There is a much longer story to that.
I became acquainted with their work first through B+W and later through their website. I saw that they were attending the 2002 View Camera Conference in Albuquerque and knew that I had to meet them. If nothing more that to talk to them for a few minutes. During Michael's talk I just asked questions. Afterward, he handed me a box of prints and told me to carry them to his booth. That is where it really started.
I met Paula and we talked a little bit. Things worked out and I was invited to be their assistant. I could have dropped the ball, but I wrote them a long letter it made a good impression.
Frankly, I was aggressive. Michael mentioned to someone that I got the job by being on the ball. When working around them so closely, that is the most important thing to be.
I have been playing my bass, almost daily since coming back from Iceland. Nothing more than scales or improving, but it is slowly coming back. There were two years when my bass didn't move out of it's corner in my house.
"All those years of lugging the bass around should make the 8x10" camera feel like an instamatic."----Well, I remember one day I carried my electric bass, a mid-sized amplifier, and my tenor saxophone home on the bus.
I have a Calumet c-1, so you can see that I don't really care how heavy things get.
Last edited by Richard Boutwell; 09-24-2004 at 12:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Welcome Richard. It's good to have your company here at APUG. But I do love listening toa good Jazz bassist.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc