Archiving the past…


Sorting through old drafts and found this from 2010.


I am constantly befuddled by people who say they don’t know what career they want to go into. This includes my kin and students.

I’ve known since I first got my hands on a camera at about age 12. I won the camera – a simple fixed lens point and shoot film camera – in a magazine-selling competition at my tiny rural school in Clements, California. Can’t remember what I first shot – but that lead to my mother signing me up for what we now call “distance learning” and what was called a correspondence course back then. (She didn’t just sign me up helter-skleter…but made sure I was taking a UC extension course.) Photography by mail.

My dad helped me build a darkroom in the basement and I was set. Every week or so I’d get some mimeographed papers explaining my assignment and giving background. I’d read, experiment, and return. Talk about self-paced – it was fun!

That camera was soon gone, replaced by a Nikormat with a teensie hole in the shutter fabric. I took many many photos with a trademark black spot on one side. But my appetite was whetted – I dreamed in black and white and smelled like a chemical bath most days. Brown fingertips and nails. Squinty eyes from too much time in the dark. Ahhhhh. And I will tell you that nothing – nothing smells like a freshly opened canister of 35mm film.


In my mind I still smell that unique odor…it’s like Mom’s cooking or the smell of freshly dampened earth after the first rain…bringing back memories.

But these days I’m digital.  Less fuss and muss but no longer the hesitant anticipation of whether the shots came out and the magic of pulling images up from the soup.

I still shoot – both stills and video now – and am currently toying with a 7 Day BW Challenge on facebook (will post them all once I’m done).  And have partially achieved my lifelong dream of shooting for a newspaper.  Not big-time but the local rag pulls me in when they need someone a few days every month or so.  The workflow is a challenge (OK, so I don’t know Adobe Bridge and PS as well as I should, but hey I am learning).  And my stuff gets published and I get a genuine byline!

The future will continue to fill my computer and hard drives with images…and one day when I finally slow down I may reach back into the distant past and those dusty boxes of images from my youth and begin the task of archiving.  And remembering anew.


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