I always have a camera with me. So much so, people expect it. When people expect it, they don’t worry about me making photographs, that’s the norm. I’m always lifting up the camera–that’s just what I do.
That’s a lucky position to be in. I get to create memories and document the lives of the people who are dear to me. That’s my role as a photographer.
I remember back when I was working as a teenager at The Camera Shop Inc. in the Oxford Valley Mall, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a gentleman came in who said he was a commercial shooter and never touched his camera if he wasn’t getting paid. He said as soon as he got done working, that was it for photography for him. He had no interest in touching the camera outside of work.
I am unable to understand that. I work commercially, have for my whole life, but it’s more than a job, it’s joy. I love seeing the photographs that result from these “nights of shooting”. I couldn’t imagine limiting my photography to just paid gigs like this photographer expressed.
Here is a little collection of photographs of my partner, MaryLee, from silly posing next to her director’s chair (she’s a filmmaker), sweeping her floor in heels, going out for the night to even feeling under the weather. Real life.
(These next six photos all came off of one roll of film, Kodak Tri-X 400 that was in an Olympus OM-2n for years. That’s how it goes sometimes when you have multiple cameras loaded with film.)
So, I consider it a gift. A gift to me and to my family and friends to be so included in their lives and trusted with creating some of the photographs that will serve as reminders to the fun we’ve had, our history, who we are and who we were, sharing life together.
And photographing it with black and white film, often printing and gifting framed copies of these photographs to them.
Some of my friends, Ed and Howard, just out for beers or meeting for lunch– there are photographs. (Ed’s first photo from 10 years ago, and then again last week.)
And my friends Michelle and Kathy. I love this two-photo series of them, we were out at a brew pub on a windy afternoon and their hair wasn’t cooperating.
(These were a few weeks ago, made on a Leica M3. That’s the other fun part, I get to shoot these wonderful cameras!)
I shoot digital photography for commercial shoots, but film for the people and things that matter most to me. If I have a digital camera with me, my friends will joke, “Hey, what did I do?” though it might just be a situation where I know the light won’t be there for film.
But I can’t leave home without a camera. To me, that’s a setup for missing out on a special moment. One that I will want to remember.
One more of my friend Don giving shoulder rubs to his wife Kathy. Kinda feels like that. Pure joy!
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