As near as I can remember, my interest in photography goes back to the mid fifties. I was 10 or 11 years old when Mom and Dad gave me a Brownie camera for my birthday. It was a pretty simple bakelite point and shoot, but I loved that camera. It shot medium format 120 film, and I had to do all kinds of odd jobs to earn money to afford it and the processing. That camera remains one of those birthday presents I still remember more than fifty years later.
In college in the sixties, a buddy of mine discovered that there was a budget for a photography club, but no club. We went to the dean and were told that if we could enlist a faculty advisor, we could activate the club. I don’t recall who we drafted, but we found someone who agreed as long as we wouldn’t bother them. My buddy, Rich, became President. I was VP, and Rich’s cousin, George, served as treasurer. The three of us were the entire club. We had a well equipped darkroom, a few cameras, and an operating budget. We began shooting for the yearbook and college newspaper.We held exhibits, sponsored contests (which we usually won), and increased the equipment inventory. It was pretty much all black & white photography. We taught ourselves darkroom techniques like dodging and burning-in. We purchased (for the club, of course) a number of interchangable lenses. That’s when I discovered 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) photography.
I bought my first Canon 35mm camera (I think my son has it now) at the Fort Dix PX in the late sixties. I did a few weddings for friends, some baby photography, and kept entering contests. In the seventies I joined the Springfield Photographic Society which met monthly at the Museum Quadrangle. I learned a lot from other photographers, both amateur and professional, read a lot of books and took a course or two. Somewhere along the line I bought another Canon (I think my son has it now).
The kids arrived in the eighties, and my photography became documentary family life. We have several bins of prints and slides like most families with adult children. Both kids are artists (and bloggers). Our daughter is a writer and our son’s a web developer/photographer. My own photography kind of faded into the background until my retirement gift rekindled the spark that still seems to be there.