Where do I start?? The beginning? Ok… Here goes nothing.
I have always had an interest in photography as a young child. I would even grab my dads expensive 35mm camera and sneak it out and take pictures with it. Everything was ok till he got the film developed and I was in big trouble. I earliest picture I remember taking was my dad left the camera laying on a chair while we were visiting some family and I grabbed it and took off with it with him right on my heels. I turned as I was running and took a photo of him chasing me. My family has laughed at that photo all my life so I guess that was the beginning. I was the “on the go” photographer.
My oldest brother, David, while in the military, got me my very own camera while he was on a short leave in Japan. It was a Canon FT with a 55mm 1.2 lens. This was in 1972. I can remember when I finished a roll of 24 exposure film, I would put in a postage paid mailer to Gem Photo which was in Nashville Tn. About a week later I would get my prints back in the mail and would sit for hours looking at them. My parents subscribed to several photography magazines for me and I wore them out reading them. I could immediately see that there was more to photography than just a nice camera. This was a craft that had to be learned.
I quickly picked up on the master photographers that were in the magazines and wanted to be able to take photos like them so bad I could taste it. Photographers like Monte Zucker, Joe Zeltsman, Ansel Adams, to name a few were the inspiration of my business. So I took photos for 10 years, and my work was very good because people would compliment my work but I knew that they were just being nice because I could see the flaws that needed improvement. I went to a seminar once that a professional was putting on in Nashville and I took some of my best photos for him to review. After the seminar I showed him my work and he just said, read my book and study my lighting, posing and composition and you will go far in this business. I did and would regularly send him a duplicate copy of weddings I would shoot and he would send back a VHS (yes VHS Tape) tape of his critique of my work. It was enough to make anyone throw up their hands and quit but I had the grit to take it and improve. I eventually became his best student and was mentioned in several videos. I forgot to mention that 510 other photographers were getting this same video tape.
Todays photography is no where close to what it used to be. Some of it is hard to look at and people comment that its great. They just don’t know. I see lens flare all the time (which is a mistake because the photographer doesn’t know how to avoid it) and its called art. I see color which is muted and washed out because of incorrect white balance in digital cameras and its art. Its not art! Its a mistake because the person pushing the button doesn’t now how to operate the camera. I have asked photographers in this area if they calibrate their white balance and I get this deer in the headlight look, like this is the first time they have ever heard that term. I tell them their photography would improve if they would short light their subjects and I get the same look. If nothing else sticks from this blog it should be that a nice camera will never ever beat the fundamentals of good photography.
As I said earlier, I started photography in 1972. I didn’t call myself a real photographer until 1982 after I had worked with a pro for two years. Photography is a craft, like cooking, just because you have nice pots and pans, doesn’t make you a good cook.
If this blog gets enough interest, I may do some videos of how to spot a fauxtographer.