Fifty years ago I became hypnotized by the world of photography. My then wife was taking a photography course at the university and since we were an impoverished student couple, we saved our pennies, denied ourselves garlic bread at Mario’s, wore out-of-date clothes because they still fit, and still couldn’t afford a decent camera.
Ten years later, on the other side of the country, I loaded a camera bag with all the goodies I could buy, including a modern SLR camera, and surprised my new girlfriend while celebrating her birthday at the local drive-in theater. She loved it; I used it.
What I found myself doing was lugging a heavy bag of extra lenses, beaucoup de film, tripod, filters, flash, and handy instructional pamphlets around New York City in search of the perfect shot. What I got in the end was a sore shoulder and a few pictures of the shadows on a subway grating. Being a self-appointed purist, I used only Black and White film. I also scanned the magazine advertisements constantly for the ideal enlarger and the tools and chemicals I would need to convert my single-purpose bathroom into a state-of-the-art darkroom with a red warning light outside the door.