When I was growing up, my Aunt Carol was the family photographer. She had the ubiquitous Kodak Brownie camera - with that huge flash. Oh how I hated being in front of that flash!
My dad had an 8mm (silent of course) movie camera but no one in my immediate family had a snapshot camera, so for my eighth birthday, I made it known that was what I wanted.
The year before I had wanted a new fangled transistor radio for my birthday, and my aunt had gotten me one. That was a big deal back then - they were what all the "cool kids" had. It had lousy reception and was only AM (no one listened to FM in those days - I am not even sure there were any FM commercial broadcasts yet). So when I wanted a camera, I naturally asked my aunt.
She came through for me, and I received the camera I wanted - but not before she teased me a bit by giving me a tin toy camera, which - when you pressed the shutter button - opened the lens and out popped a spring snake! Once I got over that, however, she gave me the actual camera. Today, almost 53 years later, I can still remember the excitement of opening the box and taking the camera (and flash!) out and loading my first roll of black and white film! (I would take my first roll of color film at the 1964 NY World's Fair!)
From that day on you would hardly ever see me without a camera around my neck. In 1968 and 1969 I traveled across the US and Canada and had two cameras with me ... the Ansco Cadet Reflex and a Polaroid instant camera which I surreptitiously bought with my profits from delivering newspapers. Here you can see it around my neck at Universal City in California. Obviously my mom was using my other camera to take this shot.
Once I got married and had a steady job, I felt the need to move up to a 35mm camera. Naturally I needed the best, and at that time it was a Contax RTS - with a motor drive!
It was during this period that I went from my snapshot phase to more artistic photography. (I also purchased a few other cameras along the way, but I won't mention all of them here.) My kitchen turned into a darkroom at night - while my wife watched TV in the bedroom with the door closed, so I could have the apartment as dark as possible. I worked mostly in black and white, though I did dabble a bit in color ... mostly slides. I entered a few contests, and won a few, saw my work displayed on TV during the US Bicentennial celebration, and had my work displayed in photography magazines.
Then it all changed ... our first child was born! The kitchen once again became a place to cook food, and the type of shot I took were more the shots that proud parents show which makes all their friends find excuses to be somewhere else.
Life continued, the children grew up, left the house, and I retired. Digital photography was now the norm, so I naturally had to have a digital SLR and get back into my photography! I purchased a DSLR and thought I could just pick up where I had left off all those years ago. I was so wrong! There was quite a learning curve! Although I knew the basics of photography itself, I had to learn all about the new things I had within my control in the digital age.
Today I shoot with a Nikon D7100 and while I still take the snapshots of my grandsons, I am still very proud of my work in other areas.
After more than 50 years, my obsession with photography is not only going strong, but is perhaps stronger than ever. I have continued to win contests and even sell a photo every now and again.
I have met a number of local photographers and go out to find something to photograph at every chance I get.
Of course, photography is meant to be shared, and of course in this electronic age, there are ample ways to do this. Some of my favorite photos can be seen on my photography website, Gathered Images, and I invite you to come visit and I hope you enjoy some of my work. Click on the video below as well for a quick look at over 60 years of photos (yes, the second pig from the right is me!).