Growing up I never considered photography an art form, but always loved the camera and the pictures one can take. I’ve had a camera in my hands most of my life, starting with a Brownie in the early 1950s, and dreamt of becoming a world renowned photographer. The photos taken during childhood, try though I may, were never good, usually with partial heads, missing limbs, or maybe just feet. The people in those early photographs were usually unidentifiable because they appeared too small - because I stood too far away - or the picture was blurred. Not to be deterred, I looked at professional photos, and I studied them, and then I practiced and got better at it by just trying different angles and shots and scenes, and I started to really like that I was getting better at this. And one day someone said, “Hey, this picture is really good!”
The older I got, the better and more sophisticated the camera got, and that helped a whole lot too. I subscribed to photography magazines and read articles and books on photography to help me understand the reasons for and how to take better photos. I remember hearing one day a professional photographer say in an interview on TV that even the best photographers are lucky to get one or two really good shots out of a whole roll of film. It was then that I began to realize that photography was not only just taking pictures, but it was truly art, a way to transform beauty and perspective from one place and share it with the world. And that’s when photography took on a whole new meaning for me.
My first “assignment” came one day in the mid 1990s when my boss told me that what he wanted for his retirement was a picture of the building we worked in in his rear view mirror. Not having one of those handy, I took my camera, drove to work, and spent an hour or so using up an entire roll of film snapping pictures of the building in the various mirrors on my car from various angles and places in the parking lot. The photo I settled on was one of the last photos taken on that roll of film, and he loved it. Word got around the building and I began selling that photo. It didn't hurt that I made a little money from that photo.
I love to photograph people when they least expect it; candid shots are so much fun and make wonderful memories. I love to photograph scenery, because those photos can be so very tranquil and beautiful. For me, photography is very meaningful in that it can also measure distance in time to see how things have changed and/or progressed - like when a small tree is planted and we watch it grow and change throughout the years.
My inspiration comes from many sources: my family for their unending encouragement and faith in me, friends that have helped me more than they ever realized along the way, other artists’ photographic displays of their work, as well as the people and places that I photograph, and nature itself. Innumerable places and things to share with the world.
Another boss gave a small, engraved stone to me when I moved on to another position. The wording on that stone reads: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” Now retired, I keep that stone on my desk at home. It reminds me of how grateful I am for this journey that began when I was a child. That journey, for sure, has been a long one; a journey that includes the frustrations at not getting the perfect museum quality picture with the very first click of that first camera from the first roll of film, to the acknowledgement and accolades of family, friends and colleagues at finally getting it right.