Knowing my 49 year old memory, this re-telling of my photography origin story may not be 100% accurate, but it ought to give some insight into how I got my start in the mid 1980's.
I was just shy of my teenage years when my father came to me one day and asked if I "wanted a hobby." Apparently he'd gotten a bunch of darkroom equipment from a co-worker and wanted to know if I was interested in doing some photography with him. I never had a very close relationship with my father so this was pretty out of the ordinary for him. For both of us. But I accepted his invitation and I've never looked back. Photography has been a near constant in my life since that time. I'll be forever grateful to my father for that.
We started without an actual darkroom by developing film and prints in the bathroom. I still remember the trays of chemicals lined up in the bottom of the bathtub, strips of film hanging from the shower curtain to dry, and the towels that we tried to stuff under the door to block out light. I'm guessing my mother wasn't super thrilled with our new hobby. After my family moved in to a new house with a large unfinished basement, my father had the idea of building a darkroom in one corner of the basement. I don't know how he knew what he was doing (maybe it's because his father was a carpenter, maybe that's just who he was), but before long we had walls up and a workbench complete with storage. I don't have a lot of memories of doing things with my father, but building and working in that darkroom is one of the best.
My first camera was a Nikon FG and I thought that camera was SO cool. It was a 'real' camera, not like the plastic 'instamatic' cameras you bought at the local drug store. The body was made of actual metal and it had some heft to it. It was built like a tank and I was not gentle with it. I have no recollection of where that camera came from or how I ended up with it, but that's what I used to learn my craft as I progressed through middle and high school. I was on the staff of my high school newspaper and got to use the school's darkroom as part of that 'gig'. Plus, I got to carry my camera around with me at school at all times, just in case something noteworthy happened. I was such a nerd.
I didn't do much with photography during college, but a few years after I graduated from college, and became a homeowner myself, I inherited all of my father's darkroom equipment and eventually built a basement darkroom of my own. That's when I truly became hooked on photography as an art form.
Unfortunately, my father passed away shortly before I graduated from college, so he never got to see my darkroom, or my best photographic work, but I like to think that he'd be proud of how far I've come. I can't thank him enough for introducing me to the world of photography.
If you're interested finding out more about what I do, grab yourself a copy of my free eBook 'Eleven of My Favorite Images and the Stories Behind Them.' You can also browse around my gallery and see even more of my art.