My interest in photography began when I was twelve years old and a friend of the family lent me his camera. I shot a roll of film, developed it in that friend’s make-shift darkroom, made a couple of prints – and the magic of those moments has stayed with me ever since!
I received my training in Art and as a Commercial Photographer at the High School of Art & Design in New York City. I was extremely fortunate to attend that school as the competition for admission was city-wide and very fierce. The first year in this excellent school was spent in “Exploratory Art” where students sampled many of the art disciplines taught there, such as Fashion Illustration and Design, Theater Arts, Sculpture, Photography, Illustration, Architectural Rendering, and others. I was thrilled to study under such gifted Artist/Teachers as Tom Wesselman, Frank Eliscu, Alvin Hollingsworth, and David Rosenfeld.
The photography major, which became my concentration, encompassed two years of photography lecture, studio work, and lab work, as well as two years of photo science. Graduates of A&D were prepared to enter their respective fields right from school. I also studied, briefly, at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in night classes.
Following high school, I worked as a photographer’s assistant to a truly gifted commercial photographer. Then, by the end of 1964, I was inducted into the US Army. Again, I was fortunate in that I was trained as a Still Combat Photographer at the Army Signal Corps Center at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. After training, I was assigned to the 79th Combat Engineering Batallion quartered in Pirmasens, Germany, where I had excellent opportunities to tour Germany and Europe while stationed there.
After my service, I was happy to be home in NYC and working again in the field of commercial photography. After more work as an assistant, then studio manager, I worked as an actual commercial photographer. I specialized in Still Life and Illustration for a major department store, and had my work published in almost every New York City newspaper on a daily basis. After that I worked as a free-lancer doing work for Columbia Records, independent Art and Design businesses, magazine editors, and for major diamond jewelry manufacturers.
Though many years have now passed, I am still very much interested in photography. I work primarily for my own enjoyment at this point, but it is a serious pursuit nevertheless.
I have now made the transition to digital photography, with some tremendous initial reluctance I must say. Somehow, I simply didn’t equate digital photography as an Art in the same class as silver or conventional, analog, film-based photography.
I spent considerable time, money and effort in constructing a very complete professional level darkroom, and subsequently discovered that I did not care to spend much time working in it. I also found that I did not have the requisite energy to do so. It was then that I made the transition to digital photography.
I have decided that one must not necessarily suffer to make one’s art. It takes such a significant amount of work to learn all the required techniques that are indispensable to operating in the digital world, including the very necessary computer skills, that I can truthfully say it is not without considerable effort. The one thing it certainly does take is time. Even digital photography is not done in a hurry. It takes knowledge, planning, execution, and work to make a superb digital photograph!
I am currently learning the required skills; particularly, as they relate to the computer and photo-editing.
For much of my life, I have been primarily devoted to Landscape photography, though my subjects and interests have varied over the years to include many other genres.
Most recently, however, I have begun shooting Still Life again after a 40 year interruption. I have been enjoying the pursuit immensely and hope to continue to develop those skills in the art that I gained so many years ago but have, since, neglected. It is a subject most suited to my style of working, and the fact that I am not producing to an art director’s requirements, allows me to explore the genre in ways that I was never free to do as a commercial photographer.