Only The Beginnings

I am taking this title from the lyrics of one of my favorite 1970’s rock bands, Chicago . I am privileged to be a member of the generation that has had the best music, in my opinion, of all time: rock and roll!

Anyway, I digress! My last posting discussed a group exercise in which I described my creative influences as an artist photographer. This was part of John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step artistic community  of which I am a member. Continuing this theme of understanding an artist’s background, we were then asked to describe our earliest reasons for turning to photography as the means of our artistic expressions. Below was my contribution…


During my high school summer of 1970, I was lucky enough to spend six weeks studying Spanish in Spain. Although I came from a low middle-class, white collar family, my mother knew the value of travel and its ability to teach life lessons of its own. We spent the first week in Paris. When we toured the Palace of Versailles , I discovered the extensive, mysterious gardens  there. Being a history buff with a vivid imagination, the late afternoon lighting enticed me to fantasize about Marie Antoinette slinking around those gardens. I had a Kodak Instamatic  and of course took pictures. Although I no longer have those first pictures, I still cherish the memory of that day and trip where I tried to visualize what it must have been like to live during those times and experience the simple joys and tragic sorrows of the period.

I started teaching high school English in the 1975 and bought my first official SLR, the Minolta SRT 102 , as a used camera from the then senior class newspaper photographer. During several following summers, I also worked in a camera store selling cameras and equipment. Unfortunately, I never encountered anyone who could teach me technique or the artistic side. I shot exclusively with slide film in those days. We had a slide projector which allowed those images to be shown in a large setting.

Then, in 1977, my wife and I and our two friends spent two weeks traveling through Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan. I bought a 70-200mm in Hong Kong at a far cheaper price than what I could afford in the States which allowed me to discover the joy of taking intimate landscape-type photos. I took the photo below at the Aberdeen  floating village in Hong Kong.


Upon our return, I discovered the joy and tranquility of photographing the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire and Maine. The picture at the top of this posting is of Mount Katahdin , 1977.

Unfortunately, the camcorder revolution during the 1980’s enticed me to switch over. We had three children by then and I became absorbed in capturing interesting moments during their early lives.

It wasn’t until January, 2002 that I went back to photography and bought (big surprise!) the one of the first Minolta non-SLR digital cameras, the Minolta Dimage 7 . By 2004, I decided to get serious about my photographic art when I bought the Canon 20D  digital SLR. It was about that that I took the Epson Print Academy seminars  and discovered Jay Maisel . My friend and fellow photographer, Stan Marchut , and I then attended our first photographic workshop, part of that Print Academy tour, co-hosted by Vincent Versace .

For me, even from my first photographic experiences, the image was always about composition first, technique later.

Today, I continue to enjoy my love of the intimate landscape and my favorite lens is still the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM , although I hope to get the version II of this lens. I also continue to be influenced by my love of history with mystery!