I am sometimes asked when I started in photography. My usual answer is that I did my first job for hire at age 12!
Here’s the whole story.
I had two amazing grandmothers. (Most grandmothers are amazing, I believe – we just don’t realize how amazing they are until they are gone.) One of them, Katherine Moll, was especially instrumental in my upbringing. She loved to travel and take pictures long the way. (They weren’t photos or photography back then – just “pictures.”) One day she upgraded I suppose, and gave me her old Kodak Brownie. That old plastic camera instantly became my most prized possession. I would scrape together enough loose change to buy film – processing would have to wait. Even to this day, I love creating photos more than working on them.
I took it almost everywhere including summer camp. As we were boarding the bus for camp, one of the camp counselors said, “If you’ll take photos of the boys doing different activities at the camp, I’ll pay for your film!” That was good enough for me!
My little Brownie and I were inseparable until one day I fell off my bike and the camera spilled out of my basket. It cracked on the sidewalk and that was the end of it. I cried, of course, and gave up photography for several years. It wasn’t until I arrived in Viet Nam as a fresh U S Marine that I bought myself a “real” camera, a Minolta SR-T 101 for $126.00. $126 for a fine camera, the first camera in the world with a built in light meter! Those were the days. My current camera cost $3200, and it didn’t come with a lens! I love my current Canon EOS 5D MkII and Adobe Photoshop CS, but I’ll never forget my photography roots and that clumsy old Kodak Brownie.