I'm turning 64 this week -- tomorrow, actually -- which is the only non-decimal age we recognize, and it's entirely because of Ringo Starr. And who but a 64 year-old would even know this. But I'm not going to use this occasion to wax sappy about all my years in photography (43 and, hopefully, counting) nor to engage in a crusty invective against "kids today" that you might expect from the scornfully middle-aged. (Middle aged, my ass. Who lives to be 128?)
But I digress, or more likely, my mind is wandering; you know... old guys. I was going to reflect on my amazement about working in a profession that underwent a profound tectonic shift from analog to digital, and how I've been able to find happiness in both worlds. But then it dawned on me that our whole society underwent this waterfall of change, and left as much destruction as opportunity in its wake. And it's the "kids" today -- even my own, both in their 30's -- who are picking their way through the flotsam of the change we created, and coming up with their own ways to see the world.
And here's the thing: they may have little concept of what my world was like, back in the 60' and 70's, because that world no longer exists, but I have a pretty good idea about theirs, because I get to live and work in it. It's an amazing place. I wouldn't go back for anything. And I'm just following their lead; there's a lot of territory yet to cover.
Who knows how long we have before we have to hang up our spurs. I attended a workshop once with Leon Kennamer back in '74; not sure how old he was at that time but when he was asked that very question, said he'd consider quitting when he was no longer able to empty out a 16x20 tray of developer into a gallon jug without needing a funnel. Indeed. So I'm left to wonder about my own signpost of mortality in the digital age; maybe it'll happen when I can't focus on a 15" Retina screen anymore. Or focus on a beautiful woman posing in my studio. I just don't know.
But what the hell. As long as you still need me, and still feed me, I'm a happy camper.