My Photo-History

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My Photo-History

I have been taking pictures since I was 14 years old (that was 1969) when my mother gave me an old Argus C-3 "Brick" and my Uncle Horace--a weekend wedding photographer--taught me how to process and print in his home darkroom.  Our deal was: if I bought my own film (in those days 79 cents for 36 exposures of Plus-X or Tri-X black-and-white), he would pay for all the chemicals and paper I could waste--er, use.

What a chance to experiment!  I did solarizations, paper negatives, selective masking, texture filters: all the techniques I could find.  I shot hundreds of rolls throughout high school and into college.

Then, in about 1977, disaster struck: a crazed roommate found a briefcase he liked and threw out the contents--every negative I had ever shot.  If you have done this sort of work, you know that you don't really make 3-1/2 x 5 proof prints for every roll, so virtually everything I had was lost save a handful of prints.

But I've caught up.  Since that time I've done slides, 4 x 5 sheet film, handcoloring, Polaroid manipulations, cyanotypes, Van Dyke browns, Polaroid transfers--and now digital.  I have lugged a 4 x 5 camera, tripod, film holders, and changing bags into the wilds of New Mexico; hung around on the set of a TV show with my 35mm; and walked from Tokyo to Kyoto with an SLR-type digital.  For those of you who don't speak camera lingo, this means: I've made a lot of pictures in a lot of ways in a lot of places.

My main goal has always been not so much to "dazzle" with technique as to create images that express the essence of the subject.

So here I am in China.  My camera is a Minolta Dimage 7 with a non-interchangeable 28-200 zoom; my back-up is a Canon Powershot A-300.  And my "darkroom" is Photoshop 6.0.  In other words I am out on a limb, working without a net...I left my film camera at home.  Ever since I met a pro who said that even the venerable National Geographic is sending its shooters out with high-res digital, I just don't see the point in shooting film.  It's more expensive, it's a hassle to develop and store, it's very environmentally unfriendly.  Sure, I'd like to be doing those "alternative techniques" here in China, but with a digital camera and Photoshop, the possibilities for playing around are...endless.

So that's my story.  The images here are mostly from the more recent periods and places in my life; I've brought my Japan slides (some scanned, some in slide form), and of course everything I've ever shot that's digital.  (I do have a few shots from the Southwest as well.)  Some are "straight shots" and some have been manipulated; the accompanying notes will tell you which is which.

Enjoy.