Forming an interest in the making of photographs at the age of about fifteen, only a “box camera” at the time. I have always had an interest for ‘how things worked’. In public high school a friend said that he was going to be the school photographer for the school newspaper, and ask me if I wanted to do that too. “The school will let you use a camera that is really good.” He said - so I became one of the three photographers.
I started reading everything I could about the process of making photographs - Cameras - Darkroom chemistry - Lighting, natural and flash (Those #5 blue ones) and had a Double Reflex “Rolli” to use as well as my own Argus C-3 (that old BRICK - I still have it).
That was my junior year - By the time I was a senior, I was entering contests all over the area. I won the Scholastic’ Art Award for Photography - first in State and third in national. I found that I could really do something that others could not - well, not like I did at any rate. It made me proud of myself, gave me courage at a time I really needed that. However, it was not to be my “profession”. My father did not think that I would make IT as a photographer - and said that I would enter the Electrical Trade as an electrician. Thus - Photography became my passionate hobby till I retired.
From the time I was in high school till 1974 I kept ALL of my negatives (and slides) in a large steel box. I lost everything in a fire that year. And totally quit photography completely.
Then in the year of 1982 I became a father, and that happened again in 1983... I got the old cameras out and rolled film into them and picked up where I had left off. I was in “my element” once again. Making photographs and developing in the basement darkroom. However.... There was a ‘change in the wind’.... Something named “Digital Photography”.
Coming from “chemical photography” into the “Digital Age” was liberating. I bought a point and shoot Kodak I think - model 520 - it was 1.2 megapixel. I read the book before I loaded batteries into the camera (I still do that with every camera I buy) and the next day loaded the batteries and went out into the yard. I made photographs of flowers, one of my favorite subjects at the time as they did not move very quickly. Liberating because NOW in the digital age, I could “take’ as many as I wanted to without the worry about the cost of film. I went NUTZ! The old basics applied to digital and there was something NEW to learn, LOTS to learn again.
Now I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II - a Canon 7D as my ‘back-up' - a Canon Xti converted to infrared - a good assortment of “glass” - And I still have my Argus C-3 “Brick” and yep, I still use it - along with my 645 Mamiya, An Ansco 8X10 View Camera, Crown Graphic 4X5 and a Burke & James "Orbit" Mono-Rail 4X5.
Still a Landscape, River - Wildlife, Nature as well as portrait Photographer. Only now I am what is termed a professional as I make my living at my Passion - Photography.
And THAT dear fellow Photographers IS the WHY I do it - - Because I Can.
We, each of us, photographers teach each other to make better photographs - Let us all share and (In the words of a friend, Dewitt Jones) Improve ourselves. We need not prove, just Improve.
Thank you all of my friends... I really appreciate your comments and your friendship...
Saint Louis, Missouri, The Republic of The United States of America