I might as well start at the beginning, which was pretty modest. One of my first shoots that I can remember was a parade in Baltimore in the mid-1970s. I was just a kid at the time and was using a Brownie. Unfortunately I didn't know that the shutter speed was slow. What I got back was a bunch of shots of blurs against a sharp background, the other side of the street. I don't have any examples from that shoot but I do have prints from another. I was using my dad's 35mm camera. We were at Baltimore's Inner Harbor to watch the launching of the Pride of Baltimore, a hand-crafted sailing vessel. My dad said not to shoot the launch since he had done it so I shot other points of interest around the view from Federal Hill. Some are so far away that you'd only know what I was shooting...if you knew what I was shooting, such as the distant Patterson Park Pagoda and WJZ-TV's Instant Eye satellite truck, something new back then.
These shots show a ship in drydock, with the iconic Domino Sugar plant in the background, and the U.S.S. Constellation in the Inner Harbor.
The first camera I ever owned was a Kodak Instamatic 110, given to me on my 13th birthday. I immediately began shooting my surroundings and special events, such as the annual hydroplane races on the Susquehanna River. Just a heads up, some of these old shots are going to be in rough shape for various reasons. 110 shots are grainy by nature but a lot of my oldest negatives haven't been treated well over the decades. The following images are scans of prints.
For a while we lived at an apartment complex on the edge of the country. I used to head off into the woods with the family Beagle, to see what I could find. I already had an interest in old cars, and these adventures stirred an interest in other types of antiques as I looked over the remains of a long gone dairy farm. I assume the farm was sold to whomever built the subdivision in the background. There was a hulk of an old car on this site, upside-down on its crushed roof, but I have no idea what it was.
The water bowl shot and the bird on the drift are two of my favorites from this camera. The snow shot was taken just after the storm from the window of our second apartment in the complex.
So...the singer for the group Everclear wasn't the only one with a "Star Wars poster on my bedroom door." This one is surrounded by trading cards and clipped magazine pictures.
Playing around with point of view, using the Cox gas-engined car which never wanted to run. In the background you can see the edge of the "frontier."
I'm not sure if I broke the 110 camera but my next camera was Polaroid One Step. I started shooting different types of things that same Christmas day, and was reminded of the cost of the film. By this time we had moved to 200-year-old farm house close to the center of a small town. This is our dog Brutus, a Tennessee Tidewalker Hound, or foxhound, if you don't feel like saying all that. I like the muted colors, but you can see that age is taking its toll on the emulsion. I scanned all the Polaroids I had before they got worse. If you notice any vertical bands in some of the scans, it's because the element in my 12-year-old scanner was wearing out. It's since been replaced.
In these next three shots, the creative bent seems to be emerging. I had figured out that setting the exposure ring on the One Step to the dark side would nearly black out the non-sunlit parts of the scenes.
Here I had my brother hold a model of an X-wing fighter in the sunlight. I had stuck a coat hanger into the bottom and had him hold it to cover the wire. The light on the bed reflected upward, making his hand visible.
This is one of those shots that made my mother say something like "You know each of those shots costs money." It is a model of a Camaro, sitting on my bed.
I have no idea where I got the inspiration for this shot. No idea.I put a mirror on top of something and shot across it. This is the inside of the L, upstairs in the farmhouse. The doorways lead to the master bath and my brother's bedroom.
Coming up next, my first 35mm camera.