|I was born a poor farm boy in Lebanon Connecticut more than 40 years ago. We couldn’t afford to process film … so my father bought the first model of Polaroid camera to hit the stores. But the film was expensive, so he didn’t take many pictures. So I saved my birthday money and bought a roll of Polaroid film … and had a great time with it. This model didn’t have a meter but I got pretty good at using the “Sunny day” – “Cloudy day” settings and got some good pictures … when I could afford to buy film. It was also a fun challenge to apply the preservative coating with the little “picture coating stick in a tube” that came with the film, and it had a great smell too.As a high school freshman I made the big leap and began using a 35mm camera that the school photo club had. (A Praktica, I believe.) I spent hours in the school darkroom perfecting my film processing and printing techniques. During my high school years I took and processed most of the yearbook pictures for each class … back then in the 19XX’s the yearbooks were in black-and-white.From there I moved on to a 3-year photography program at The Art Institute of Boston. There I took courses in photography as an art, studio photography, advanced darkroom and exposure techniques (the zone system, mixing our own chemistry, etc.) and more. In Boston I also learned not to buy used equipment from Lenny at Kenmore Camera after he ripped me off when I bought a 200mm Nikkor from him to go on my Nikkormat FTN. (He did warn me that I would never find another one at that price … and I’m sure he was right.) I had to flip burgers and dunk french fries for 2 months to pay for that lens.
Don’t worry. we’re getting near the end. After photography school I moved back to my home town for a while and began shooting weddings, taking in-home baby pictures and shooting sports for a yearbook company. I soon dropped the babies and sports and concentrated on weddings. As I became better at wedding photography I began to enjoy it more, but then I hit the point where the “really like it” turned into “really can’t stand it” and I gave it up when there was a job opening at the Willimantic Camera Centre … where I hung out a lot anyway.