I began with a Leica
I started my photographic journey by playing with my father’s Leica without fully appreciating what I was holding in my hands when I was around eight years old. It surely felt different from the box camera that my mother occasionally allowed me to handle. It was one of the early Leica models and the bottom-loading of the film was a challenge. We took photographs off again, on again with that camera with very mixed results mainly, I now believe, due to the available film quality and poor development. (A few years ago, my friends Dennis and Chris gave me a Leica very similar to the one I used to have. See a related article if you like.)
I continued taking photographs with these cameras and tried to borrow, at least to look at them closely, different cameras from family friends. I once borrowed a Voightlander from my uncle when I took a trip to a village to visit a friend. That trip was an epiphany, the year, 1962. The photographs I took received many favorable comments starting with the photographer who developed and printed them for me. This was followed by more favorable comments and encouragement from family and friends.
Encouraged by this, I proceeded to make plans to buy a larger format camera, like a Rolleiflex. Of course, it was way out of my reach and I had to settle for an imitation, a Flexaret which I still own. It was 1963. I visited the same village and took many more photographs some of which you will see among the others on this site.
The Flexaret remained as my main camera for some time until I ordered, through some family friends in Germany, a “state-of-the-art” Exakta Vx 1000. That carried me through 1972 when I made the switch to a Canon FTb and still remain a Canon user after many models of Canon cameras, lenses, and so on. The only exception to my Canon affinity was my Nikon Coolpix 995. When I made the purchase it was the best one for me. Now, I use a Canon 5D Mark-IV with an assortment of mostly Canon lenses, and a Canon EOS M5 converted for infrared. I have another Canon EOS M5 for the everyday camera with smaller dimensions. I no longer own a practical film camera as I have fully switched to the digital environment. But I own a small collection of film cameras because I like their design and ties they provide to the golden past of photography.
I retired as a professor of marketing emeritus from Providence College in 2012 after 36 years of service. Teaching has been a great experience for me and affected in many ways my photography and how I share what little I know. Additionally, I do Web design for a small group of clients, including some photographers.
My Site, Kept Light
The articles section is the dumping ground of my thoughts on photography. I do extensive photography and think about it a lot, not only from a technical side but also from its artistic, critical side. I want to talk about photography as much as I want to photograph. This helps me understand what I do, and in the end, benefits my photographic work. You will find many posts from critical thoughts on photography to many shades of technique and tools.
I encourage you to think about what it means to photograph, its aesthetic dimensions, ethical dimensions, technical dimensions. Don’t forget its contextual dimensions either. This process will help you understand your photography. Also, try to look at photographs critically, try to go beyond simply “liking” or “disliking” a photograph. Force yourself to explain why you do so. I am interested in photography as a form of art, a form of personal expression, and enjoy reading about photography as much as doing photography. This helps me understand myself and what photographic art means to me.
Photography needs more than a camera and a dozen lenses. It needs, most of all, a seeing mind, not a pair of looking eyes. At times, I remember a saying that came my way via e-mail one day many years ago:
“When a finger points at the Moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.“