I first picked up a camera when I was about 15. That was back in 1992. At the time, I was primarily immersed in drawing and painting. But something always fascinated me about film and I was always curious about that Minolta X700 my mother always carried around. She took an interest in photography when I was a child and it seemed to have rubbed off. I took a much bigger interest in it when I took off to art school in ’95 and inherited that Minolta manual film camera. It was metal and very solid yet, I always took such good care of it.

Kansas City was a larger world than what I was used to in Arkansas. Buildings were taller and there was more to explore. All the more reason to keep the camera on me everywhere I went. It recorded so many of my adventures that I had since forgotten; walking under large bridges, scouring through an abandoned mental institute, college campus antics, visits to the zoo, and a tour through Auschwitz. I was comfortable with film at that point and could get the look I wanted without using a digital screen of today. Later, with a darkroom in my apartment bathroom, developing my own film and printing my own photos was addicting. I had learned to print while I was in college. There was an excitement I felt back then seeing those pictures appear from nothing in a tray of chemicals. I’m not sure if anyone who has never used film could ever experience that emotion. I loved the look of black and white even more. And I noticed the grain. Oh the grain. How I loved film grain. Kodak Tmax 3200 became my film of choice for that reason. The last series I did with that film were of the Gorillas at Brookfield Zoo. I never depended on print labs or anyone else to do my printing and developing. I loved the freedom of doing it all myself and I wanted the look of grit and honesty. And then I adopted digital in 2005. There are times that I miss my old darkroom and film. I still keep archives of all my negatives and that Minolta will always stay with me. I’ve been itching to scan or print some of those images that never saw the light of an enlarger. And I’ve been wanting to take that little metal beauty out for a tour of Chicago. It may soon be time…

A small retrospective of my favorites are here.

And for my mother who has been battling cancer the last few months, I love you and I miss you. Thank you for giving me so much.


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