What I did as a photographer
My dad handed me my first camera in 1967, obviously roll film. My first photos were corny, a picture of the garden I was growing, a real yawner, right? I took photos of whatever turned my fancy. A high school friend saw how excited I was and helped a lot. I became the go to school photographer and learned even more about photography. At the same time, I wanted to write as well because I was also an avid reader, but this another story. I worked for a newspaper as a photojournalist, it was fun. Only type of photography I disliked was weddings. Not for me.
Them uncle Sam wanted me, and I became a photojournalist on land and at sea. It was great and challenging at the same. Carrying on my body, three cameras slapping my hips was hard to do. Taking photos of whatever, it became more like documentary work. The most boring assignment I ever did in before the Navy was shooting a picture of document signing at a school and make it exciting. Make a document exciting really? I asked the man who wanted the photo, where I could a find a fun background, of all places to find such a thing was the boys restroom wall. The photo made front page.
In the navy, how do I make an award ceremony exciting, you don’t? It was more exciting taking photos for the cruise book I was assigned to, I became the admiral’s photographer, because I was creative. Now let me make this perfectly, I’m not doing camera talk here, I don’t care what you use, it isn’t the camera, it is the guy behind it. Many photographers will stand still waiting for action to come, it won’t come. You go after it, move around a lot, I was seen often moving quickly all the way around the subject shooting at every angle, until I caught the action. I took a photo of the first tomcat F15 landing on a carrier flight deck, an historical event. When the jet left again, I stood too close the jet while it blasted off, I was just about killed as I flew backward around twenty feet into a fire truck standing bye. I was shook-up but kept going. The photo made history and the award given.
I got out the Navy with a great deal of experience that was marketable. My new ambition was to be a photojournalist for the National Geographic. I could not use the photos from the military, so rebuild a new portfolio. That would take years and new experiences. I got married in the meantime and my wife supported my desire. Just about the time I got hired by my dream job, a night mare took place, my passed away giving birth to my only child. That was major setback, my newborn son needed a mother. I tried to keep shooting in what spare time I had now. I remarried a year later, but the second wife was not quit as supportive, can’t blame her for that. We had children of our own. I put the camera down for 15 years until my boys were easier to deal with.
I picked up a camera again and went shooing again, now the new world of digital welcomed me back. An exciting new world with endless film. Just for fun I entered a contest with a photo of little girl dancing. The photo was a top winner. I was invited to compete with 50 other choses photographers for best in the world. Fact is I don’t like competing, so I didn’t. I did receive a beautiful trophy for being in the top 50, kind of lifetime achievement award. Again, I had a cheap camera, but it was limited as I now turned professional again. I got into event photography and went back to work. I had one camera now and a couple lenses and a couple disks to hold the millions of photos for the several years.
Documentary came back, the housing bust hit the US. I was hired to document foreclosed homes. That job should not have existed, but it kept me busing doing very uncomfortable photos of people losing their homes. Doing photos of the inside of homes that were abandoned was disgusting and sometime scary. I covered a large territory, then major storms hit, the photos included storm damage as well. That alone kept that camera warm every day. I uploaded photos all the time. A very different experience for me. What is stranger, I didn’t need good cameras anymore; cheap little cameras were good enough. The pay was lousy, so I had to quite eventually. Now what really drove me out business was too much competition with other cheap cameras. What troubles me now, well into the years 2000 and beyond, every phone as a camera in it. The quality questionable but nobody seems to care, then came video came on strong, killing me. The came my physical problems of getting old and having bad feet. A reminder it isn’t the camera it’s you behind the camera. Develop a good eye and move around a lot.