40... And Counting ~

We count down our time in decades, I guess because we have ten fingers. This is what I'm counting down now. A simple reflection: It was in the spring of 1973 that I apprenticed at a portrait studio in Cheyenne Wyoming, and am proud to look back on a career in professional photography that has spanned, for better or worse, these four decades.
Thousands, certainly, of portraits; many hundreds of commercial assignments, and more weddings than I care to count. But what I remember most clearly are those first couple years at that studio, living and breathing photography every hour of every day, and acquiring the skills and techniques that I would continue to hone in studios and darkrooms for many years.
Mercifully, there aren't many pictures of me from those days, but of the few I can still find (and admit to) this one by my friend and classmate Terry McCarthy is the one I most enjoy sharing. And that was my dad's Nikon Photomic F.  That was one sweet camera!

My own humble little possession when I began was this Nikkormat FTN and a plain old 50mm lens, which I bought used in Casper Wyoming for about a hundred bucks. I think I must have run a million rolls of film through it; in any event I completely wore it out and gave it an honorable retirement. I was addicted to Tri-X (and Edwal FG-7) along with venerable Ektachrome 64.

We had large-format cameras of all sorts at that studio, and medium-format ones as well. All these were new and wondrous to me, portals to incredible worlds of art and creativity. Eventually I saved up all my nickels and dimes and bought this Mamiya RB 67 and a couple lenses.  I had that baby for years too, and even wore that one out. I guess I'm a little hard on my gear, but then again, these are tools, not art objects. I sometimes wish I still had them, but it's mostly digital now and that technology has taken my career to entirely new places. No regrets.

Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat! Photography has taken me to fascinating places, to meet incredible artists, and work with wonderful people.  And it brought me here.

My favorite writer Douglas Adams once wrote, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I intended to be".

Amen, brother.

Let me know what your great memories are!