Mary, 1971 - This is my friend from school, Mary Doyle, at Corona Del Mar in California. I created this image with one of my favorite cameras from my youth, a mini-Speed Graphic with a 220 roll back.
1. A wonderful childhood. Beginning at age 14 and for the next several years, photography became my life and I spent every moment either photographing, working in my darkroom or reading about photography.
I have such wonderful memories of those long days working in the darkroom, experimenting and the thrill of discovery.
Two Hippies, 1970 - This was created at my high school, Loara in Anaheim, CA. This was created at the height of the hippy movement, which along with the drug scene was very much alive at my high school.
2. Balance. I chose not to pursue a career in photography for fear I would lose my passion for it, and instead went into business. Unfortunately, due to the demands of family and job I did not pick up the camera for the next 30 years.
My business life was all about numbers, logic and rational decision making, and with no creative outlets my life became lopsided. It was not until I returned to photography in 2004 that I realized how out of balance my life had become.
Photography and the creative process helped bring balance back into my life.
Wooden Indian, 1971 - I worked at Disneyland and this image was created on Main Street. This statue is still standing there today and every time I see it, it conjures up great memories of my youth, photography and working at Disneyland. Ironically I now work in downtown Fort Collins, the downtown that inspired Disney’s Main Street.
3. The Ability to see. Photography has helped me to see beauty in the ordinary and find uniqueness in the common. That makes every location, exotic or not, exciting.
Old Shoes, 1971 - This is a shoe locker at my High School. I had just moved to Anaheim from Rochester, NY and being new, my eyes were fresh and saw everything for the first time. It was a very productive two years because of the encouragement of a dear friend and mentor, John Holland.
4. Vision. Through photography I found my Vision, or my unique way of seeing the world. What I see through my Vision is much different than what I see with my eyes.
My Vision is what fuels my creative process.
Gull and Moon, 1971 - This was created in two parts: the seagull was shot during the day in my high school parking lot and the moon was an infrared night shot. These two images were sandwiched in the enlarger and printed. My negatives from those days were lost and this image was recovered from a single print I found. This is my favorite image from my youth.
5. Confidence. Finding my Vision and learning to follow it taught me that I didn’t need another persons approval to feel good about my work or myself as an artist.
I’ve learned that if I love my work, that is enough.
Headlamp, 1970 – This old truck sat in a field across from my High School in Anaheim. I consider this my Edward Weston period, a time when I was mesmerized with his work and tried to copy it.
I thought about adding a sixth item: Purpose. But as I thought about it, I realized that photography is not my purpose in life.
Rather, photography makes my life better and that helps me to fulfill my real purpose in life.
P.S. The images in this post were created when I was 14-17 years old. These images are like a time machine, transporting me back to those wonderful days when I was young and always had a camera around my neck.