Friday, August 6, 2010

The early years and college...

I recently came across the following quote from the Italian film director Federico Fellini,"All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography", and looking back on my own photography I know very true. It's why artists like Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth painted what they did, and it's why singer/song writers like Bruce Springsteen and James McMurty write and sing about the people and places they do, and it's why I've photographed all of the people, places and events I have for the past 26 years. My photographic experience began, when upon the occasion of my 14th birthday I got a camera, which I had asked for so that I could take what would be my first photography class later in the school year.


 The majority of what I photographed in those earliest years were found objects and scenes, rarely did I photograph people, unless it was someone I knew particularly my family.As I continued and advanced in my photographic education I moved into the studio; I was fortunate to go to a high school that had a great photography program that had a small studio, with professional equipment like medium and large format cameras. My high school also had a great darkroom and a great teacher, George Kimura, a man I very grateful for not just as a teacher but as friend and mentor, I know I learned more than just photography from George. Because of the equipment I had available to me in high school I did a lot commercial type photographs.

I can't really continue without mentioning
Ansel Adams, around this point I had received a copy of autobiography, which at 16 or so I devoured because it was such a great book and insightful as to what it means to be a photographer/artist. While I did gain an appreciation and appreciation into the craft aspect of photograph, the biggest thing I got from reading his autobiography was that photography every much an art as all of the other mediums were and deserved to be displayed along side them. Although I was in the vocational photography class during both my junior and senior years, it wasn't until my senior year that I was able to compete in the V.I.C.A.(Vocational and Industrial Clubs of America) photography competition, which I won at the school level, the district level and went on to win the state level too. Winning the state level won me a trip to the national competition, it was such a huge thing that I gave up a trip to Europe with my family just to attend, despite being in Wichita Kansas, of all places. I didn't so well in Wichita, as I recall I placed 36 out of 37.

My college years started much the way my high school years ended, photographing found objects and what not, it wasn't until 1990 when I attended a photojournalism workshop that things changed dramatically. It wasn't too long after that workshop that I sold my beloved Minolta X-570, for a Nikon F-3HP, arguably the best 35mm SLR camera ever made. I wasn't all that shy as a kid, but at this time I in my early 20's I learning how to talk to and approach people, which meant I could photograph them.


I had also started working on the school's newspaper doing photography, and even worked as a photographer for a brief period on the local IRS office in its public affairs office.


I also did a lot of music photography, shooting local band and other concerts that came to the Salt Lake and Ogden areas. I fortunate enough to make friends with another student in my photography classes, who was a bouncer at long closed down club called "The Speedway Cafe". For the big shows, of major label acts I'd have to purchase a ticket and my friend would give me pass to come and go the hall as I pleased so I could make photographs of bands.

With my interest in photojournalism and documentary photography I began to explore the area where I lived with a keen eye, looking for stories and angles. My first project was photographing Washington Boulevard, in Ogden, Utah, the "main drag" where "kids" cruised and hung out at night. The following two photographs are my favorites from that project.

Another project I did was on a homeless veterans outreach program, besides all of the interesting people that come into the place it a great quality of light.


I worked off and on at the the school's newspaper for about three years, and took other photography classes learning as much as I could about photojournalism and bought a second Nikon F-3HP. In my last photography class during my second to last quarter I opted for a different camera, to photograph a project that would be the beginning of a couple of new chapters in my life, the birth of my son, the new camera was a Holga.


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