It’s all about Me!
As with many photographers I was given a camera at a young age. Not a Brownie for my 8th birthday as was usual, but a beautiful Kodak Retina III c when I was in my teens. The lustrous leather case and the gleaming chrome appointments of the camera seemed all the more wonderful because my parents had no money to spend on such luxuries.
My father owned a gas station in a small southern town and one day a soldier passing through needed tires for his car. He was low on funds and offered to trade his camera for the tires. My dad agreed though he knew nothing and cared nothing about cameras. But he did have a special place in his heart for military men, as he was a retired submariner himself. None of my brothers was interested in the camera, so it became mine by default.
Like my dad, I knew nothing about cameras or photography. I don’t think I had ever looked closely at a photograph except my disappointing school pictures which always seemed to highlight my long nose or my teen-age skin. I just enjoyed taking the camera out and pushing the buttons. I used my meager baby-sitting funds to buy film at Walgreen’s and when I was in the store, I would study the photography magazines. I particularly remember a prize-winning still life of a knife and an orange which had been cut in half. (I assume by that same knife, but I don’t recall seeing any tell tale droplets of orange juice on the blade.) I remember puzzling over just why it was that this photograph had been chosen as the winner of the contest. I stored that picture in my mind and though I didn’t have the initiative to try to imitate it, I have never forgotten that image.
Even then it was travel photography that interested me. I would wander about our farm with my camera, slogging through the swamps always with an eye out for snakes and tramp through the woods, still keeping an eye out for snakes, cross the creeks, could be some snakes there, too, and maybe into the loft of the barn where I had to keep an eye out for rats and bats and still those snakes could be lingering at the foot of the ladder to the loft. I photographed the flooded creek and new born calves and my brothers playing or working.
My pictures made me happy. I knew they lacked everything a photo could lack and yet the magic of seeing a brief moment of time captured forever in black and white fascinated me. I continued to photograph off and on over the years, my children, family vacations, the usual. Sometimes I was lucky and these pictures inspired me to learn more. Ten years ago I enrolled in photography class at the local community college and now I have a darkroom where I do my black and white as well as Photoshop on my computer where I work on my colored slides.
The magic of seeing a brief moment in time captured forever is still with me. I hope you, too, will experience some of this magic as you view my photographs.