Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thirty Years

I've been messing around with cameras and making photos for over thirty years now. I purchased my first "professional" camera thirty years ago this month (I just came across the receipt). In the intervening years, I've taken tens of thousands of photos (or more), and lately I've been going back through the older ones, scanning them, and putting them in an archive. I've also been sharing some of them on MySpace and Facebook for smiles and grins. The older images have garnered some responses from some of my old high school friends, as well as some of my relatives and new friends.

In 1981, I moved to Upstate New York on an assignment as an instructor at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit in Balston Spa, New York. While I was there, I took a course in photography from the New York Institute of Photography, and then I began working with models and shooting weddings. I was all of 21 years old at the time, and photography was simply a way for me to express myself outside of work.

I think I've become a much better photographer since then, but I did want to share a few images from those first years and that first camera. Remember, these were scanned from prints that were quite old, so don't laugh too hard. :)

Toni was one of my first models. She contacted me through an ad that I placed in a local newspaper. I think I might have paid her something like $5 an hour to pose for me. She was a very sweet girl, but had an abusive boyfriend. She enjoyed modeling and could produce some very sultry expressions. She and her boyfriend lived in and managed a hotel on Saratoga Lake, but by the time I left New York, they were living in a small travel trailer somewhere off the beaten path. When she got pregnant with her first child, she inherited a lot of our baby clothes and toys that we no longer needed. I still wonder what happened to her. I hope she did well in life and went on to have a happy and successful career and family. I'll probably never know though.

Here are a couple more images of Toni which were shot in my attic studio:

Susan was another model of mine, but I only worked with her a couple of times. Not long after we started working together, she moved away to college. She was pretty, funny and smart. I'm sure she's doing well.

As you can see, I was still very much in a learning phase with my photography. While I knew the basics of exposure and composition, I hadn't had a great deal of practice yet.

Sue Gleason was my 3rd model in New York. I worked with her serveral times. We did at least three or four field excursions to shoot, including one up to Lake George where she startled me by stripping down and jumping into a cascading (and freezing) stream.

Sue was a hippie. I don't think I ever saw her in a bra - she preferred body suits and skirts, always kept one strand of her hair braided, and was wont to take off hitchhiking on a whim. I think she was the first model that ever tried to seduce me. No, it didn't work, but it wasn't for lack of her trying. :)

Here is Sue at a place called Rock City Falls, which was one of my favorite places to shoot:

Here is Sue, upstream from the falls posing on the log that you see Susan walking along in teh above photos:

And finally, here's Sue standing in the same stream. I can tell you that this girl loved being in the water....well, except for that one time she got into a pool of water at the base of a cliff, waded out about 20 feet until the water was up to her waist then realized, after the silt settled, that she had gotten into a pond of huge tadpoles. I never believed in "walking on water" until I saw her leave that pond. :)

So, there are a few memories and photos from the past. I'm sure I'll be posting more in due time.

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