So, why photography? Technical? Science? Documentation and photojournalism. I was struck by the desire to document life in my family. I was not too good at doing so. I have sporadic pictures from my own childhood. My kids have a fairly comprehensive documentation of theirs. I hope they will document their own families. I was pretty good doing their childhood. I got a whole lot better. Lately, I’m the one who shoots the family photos at gatherings. I can’t be everywhere. And I still see lots of mediocre shots get passed around. Hell, I take a great number of them myself. But when I’m good, I am. And there are shots for the ages in and among my work. I’m better than I was and not as good as I will be someday.
The first camera I used was an Argus C3. Not a single useable picture resulted. The first camera I owned was a Kodak Instamatic 100. Yup, the first Instamatic model. It was pretty foolproof. Almost, not quite. The next real camera came in my freshman year of college – an Exakta. I lusted for a Nikon but settled on the Exakta at the recommendation of Chih Ming Pang (a long story). My Nikon was the FTn. Great camera, I was off into photography. SLR cameras dominated from then on. I made my way up the Nikon line buying as they improved. The biggest difference in a better camera – a higher percentage of usable pictures. The subject was exposed properly and in focus. This was a long long way from usable photography. I shot parsimoniously. Film was expensive as was developing. I eventually took about 40 rolls on a two-week trip. 1440 slides. I can shoot over 1000 digital images in a day. Needless to say, my development (photo education) was quite limited until digital came along. I’m still evolving and reinventing myself. Techniques don’t change that much. But for the first-time cameras are beginning to be able to keep up with my vision. Not always but more and more. I can shoot the moon and I can almost shoot the stars. I would have been pretty impossible for me to shoot the stars with film. Photography is only about 200 years old. We are a long way from box cameras.
What have I missed? I don’t have any of the Instamatic pictures. I have but don’t have access to the black and white negatives I shot and developed. Otherwise, the database I maintain dates to the ’70’s. The pictures of first twenty years of my life are scattered all around. I can lay my hands on about one early Christmas picture of me. As to my kids, their birth to present day is on my hard drives. I confess that tracking down everything is near to impossible.