As many of you may know, I first started down this long and winding road of photography and visual self exploration, self expression, or whatever you want to call it, many, many, years ago. In the days when film was plentiful and Kodak ruled the day.
I was young and eager to learn everything I could about the photographic process. Back then I shot everything! Portraits, landscapes, snap shots, family outings, everything! And on any film I could afford! At one point I was using light sensitive paper in a Quaker Oats box with a pinhole in it! Whatever I could to get in the darkroom.
As I grew as a photographer I began narrowing down what I wanted to show and how I wanted to show it. I started studying and researching more and more and shooting less and less. Because I shot less I could afford to focus squarely on quality. For years I used only a large format camera and lenses. The lower (midgrade) lenses. (I could not afford the high end glass.) And only the highest quality films (Kodak T-Max, Fuji Neopan, etc.) that could convey the sharpness, level of detail, and malleability in the development process.
Then, one fateful day, I shot color reversal (slide) film....And my life and photographic direction changed overnight! Having added color to my compositional forte, the possibilities were even greater than I ever realized. I was in love!
I continued to shoot large format film for a (very) short time. You see the sheets of 4x5 inch slide film quickly became prohibitively expensive. So I had to downsize my camera format to 6x7cm and then again to 35mm to keep the costs of processing as low as I could so I could afford to continue shooting.
Now, due to it's extremely low costs (per shot) I use strictly a digital process.
I told you that so I can tell you this.
This weekend at an art fair in Heber, AZ I had a nice conversation with a gentleman who stopped by my booth to admire my prints. He was a retired teacher who was curious about how I started. With the telling of my photographic path, I was reminded of the words of wisdom from one of my first photo teachers. I paraphrase: As you walk this journey, never forget to stop and look behind you! You'll never know what you missed unless you take the time to look!
I know that he was referring to literally turning around while your walking down a path. (Which has led to some amazing shots by the way!) But I got to thinking. I wonder if I have anything worth while in those old slides that I have filed away. Any old gems that may have been overlooked in my rush of personal growth. So I pulled out those old slides to have a look. And look what I found.
And there are dozens of sheets just like this one!
Oh yeah! That's right!
... I have some work to do!