I was born in 1946, eleven years after Kodachrome was introduced. Some of my earliest memories are of family slide shows; lush colors in a darkened room.
My father was an avid photographer who came home from WWII with an early Leica, a IIIc with a collapsible Elmar lens which he kept with him as he drove around on his job. When I was not in school I would ride with him and he patiently explained the use of shutter speeds, f-stops and the basics of his Weston light meter.
I think I was about seven or eight when he first let me use the Leica, with him present of course. Those were the days of sending the exposed film to Kodak and waiting for the mounted slides to come in the mail, and it was very exciting to see my slides projected on the screen with his.
By the time I was fourteen I had earned enough money to buy a Yashica twin lens reflex camera and a used Federal enlarger so I could develop and enlarge my own photographs in one of the bathrooms. Sadly I have no photographs from this period. They managed to get lost during one of the moves the family made.
When I started high school I was experienced enough to land a spot on the yearbook staff as a photographer. At this school this was a pretty big deal as they had a history of producing award-winning books every year.
During the summers I was in high school I earned extra money working in a camera shop, and as a photographer for one of the local newspapers. This was the first time I was sent on assignments where I was absolutely expected to return with usable photos, no excuses.
I spent two years in college as a photography major learning the fundamentals of commercial photography and assigned myself an unofficial “minor” in journalism, thinking that this might prove useful for a photo-journalist, which was my goal at the time.
1967 found me in the Army where I worked as an investigator. Photography was not part of the job, but it continued to be a pretty serious hobby. Since then photography has been a part of my life, sometimes for pay, but usually for my own enjoyment. I never became a photo-journalist.
I resisted the change from film to digital. At first because I considered the results were inferior, especially in black and white, but later out of ignorance. I was aware that progress had left me behind and I tried to convince myself that my old ways were the best ways. Eventually I was won over, and now I can’t see myself going back.