Alma Mater

crowd cheering at football game

University of Pennsylvania boosters hailed the alma mater at a football game. I used a telephoto lens to compress the crowd, and picked the decisive moment to capture the enthusiasm.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

The Cyclist

the-cyclist

Now I had an advanced twin-lens reflex, when I was fifteen years old and entranced with what I could do in photography. I was at our annual Halloween parade, and film was slow in those days. My Rollei’s lens was f3.5 and there was no way I could stop the action as the rider on an old-fashioned bicycle whizzed by. I did the only thing I could think of and panned with the action.

It was my first attempt at panning, and it added a new technique to my repertoire. It reinforced the learning process of practice and interpretation. And it early on taught me to get in there and react, not to overthink making an image “perfect.”

 

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize, so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago. First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

Little Sister

little-sister

Little did I know, in creating this snapshot of my four-year-old sister, that photography would someday become my career. I was seven years old and using a twin-lens box camera that my older cousin Bill had given to me.

When I became enamored of photography as a teen, I had also become enamored of cameras. I soon learned, however, that it’s content that counts. Cameras are only tools to extend your vision.

“Little Sister” is proof of that, and became the cover for the book I produced as an adult professional, titled “See-Saw.” Its content comes from the editing that I did as that professional,seeing now what I saw back then.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

Boys

boys in the street
In the Moment

When you’re seeking spontaneity in street photography, you want to keep moving and to keep alert.

My camera was preset for exposure, back in the days when color slide film demanded more precision than digital today. But that’s not the point. What I’m stressing is that this magic moment was just that—a moment—that would have gone by had I not been alert and responsive.

Point being: You can’t stand back and hope something will happen.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

 

The Smoking Fifties

girl smoking

Back in the 1950s, smoking was fashionable. Ads even touted health benefits. I was experimenting with lighting effects during that time. Pat was a smoker, so we got together to create this photograph.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

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A Boy Lost in Play

boy on top of cannon

I call this Reverie, a boy lost in play at Artillery Park in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. I was out strolling with camera, came upon him out with his grandfather, and moved in until this composition appeared just as his expression put him in another world.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

http://a.co/4zsuZb2

Flash! Action and Steel

Worker after WWII

After World War II ended in 1945, factories were smoking with consumer production once again. “Smoking” was slang for action, but literal when steel was formed, a molten pig iron mixture poured into molds at the American Steel Foundries, in Alliance, Ohio. My passion for photography was smoking too, when I entered Alliance High School in 1955. Leland H. “Whit” Whitacre not only taught photography, he created a kind of fiefdom where we were encouraged to explore our craft and our world. I had found my kindred souls. Whit assigned us Speed Graphic press cameras, and flashbulbs were needed for low light situations. Maverick me started experimenting with available light. So when Bill on the ladder fired his flash, and I was using a long exposure, the magic appeared.

 

The past and the present are closer than we often realize,so I’m going back into the archives to see what I saw long ago First up is this sampling of my documentary photography, a nostalgic collection of How Once We Looked. I’ve selected images that seem memorable, from the perspective of a life spent pursuing my passion. Here’s how the See-Saw collection now appears on Amazon:

Bringing Darkroom Awareness to the Digital Age

May 20, 1956 one month before my 16th birthday

One month from my 16th birthday, I created this 1956 version of a “selfie.” Easy to do when you’re photographing into a mirror.  The alternative was to use a self-timer. In either case, it was difficult to line up with a rangefinder camera that resisted getting two edges of the mirror’s frame straight. So what to do? Easy enough – just wait! In our era of Photoshop. I simply lined it up.

My point? Even then, the darkroom translated handily to the digital age.  I had long ago appreciated what you’ll see on a histogram: the range of tones from whitest white to blackest black.  Arranged properly, this gives you not only a range of tones but a happy medium, so you have readable mid-tones and a pleasing contrast as well. The effect then is snappy, what we used to try to achieve in creating a print. So now I have both vintage prints, the ones I created close to the time I developed my negatives, as well as pigmented ink jet contemporary prints.

These are just as archival but with today’s technology. It lets me tweak my images into a pinpointed perfection not possible in the early days.

Ah, it’s a great time to be digitizing my archives!

 

You can see this image and more, in my See-Saw book, previewing on Amazon

http://a.co/4TpEK1a