Matt -

Happy Birthday!

Late last week I was out with my camera making a picture of an old barn. A guy was driving by and say what I was doing, and chose to stop to chat for a while. (That happens when you are using a view camera.)

Anyway, during the conversation he said something about age, referred to his own age as "60's", and implied that I was older. Now, it may have been the hat I was wearing (something that you tend to do when you get older - to cover up the bald spot), or it may have been the gray hair (which turned gray when I was in college four decades ago), or it could have been because I was using that "old" view camera, but the fact is that I'm actually younger than he was!

Age is what you make it to be. I like to think that I'm in my mid-30's. Mentally, in terms of my outlook on life, that's probably about right. Physically - - - well, we won't go there.

But if you think young, you are young. That's what really counts.

Now,how does that affect photography? I think there are several answers. First, if you take advantage of the experience that comes with having been around the block a few times, you have made a lot of mistakes, and know what to do to avoid making the same mistakes over again. But, if you think young, you will retain a healthier sense of adventure and a willingness to take risks, and that will tend to make your photography more vital and alive. Yes, that means you will probably make a few mistakes, but becaue of the experience factor, they won't be the same ones you have made before.

I remember when I was 55. I took a workshop that year on the nude in the landscape. And I was part of a group that got busted by the cops for having a nude model in a public place. Three months later, I entered one of the images from that workshop in a show, and after a couple of days the director called to explain that he had to take my image down because of the complaints that he had received.

Wow - after living for quietly and conservatively 55 years, I finally did something outrageous!