I've been a photographer, in one form or another, for as long as I can remember.
I was heavily influenced in the direction of photography by my older brother, Greg. I remember him buying his first "real" camera, a Canon F1, back in the mid 1970's. It was a sight to behold, and I don't know that I ever stopped looking. I saw what he did with it and I was hooked. Before long, I'd purchased my own camera, a Canon TLb, from a local camera store where Greg worked. I loved that camera. I cut my photographic teeth on that camera. I always had that camera with me, and I was always taking pictures.
Since he was shooting mainly black and white film back then, my brother built a darkroom in the basement of our Long Island home. I quickly lost count of the number of hours I spent down there.
It's where I honed my style, for better or worse, and where I learned that, quite often, rules do not apply. It's where I learned that mistakes were perfectly okay. It's where I learned that a photo which might be a technical train wreck could well be one of the best pictures you could ever hope to make. It's where, to be honest, I learned that there are no rules, just ideas.
Now, many years later, I find myself still suffering the same attraction to photography as I did when I was a 14 year old kid. It's the exact same level of obsession. I still enjoy shooting for myself as well as shooting for clients, and I don't ever want to lose that drive and desire. The equipment has changed and the darkroom is now on my computer as opposed to in my basement, but the most basic attraction has never changed.
I hope it never will...
*Photo courtesy of Zach Thomas/The Monarch Studio/St. Augustine, Florida