Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Really Early Training

I started high school the next year and now I had access to all the photo books in the library - which wasn't a big selection, but a start. My all time favorite was by Andreas Feninger entitled, "The Complete Photographer." I think I read it from cover to cover at least 5 times.

This was also about the time I started taking pictures, too. I remember finding one of my dad's old folding cameras, buying some film, taking the photos, and processing and printing them myself. The bug had definitely bit. I even started experimenting with "hot lights" (high output photoflood bulbs in inexpensive reflectors) portrait photography.
Here is my first attempt at a portrait taken around 1962. It's an image of my next door neighbor's young daughter. I used a bed sheet as a background. The lighting was a photoflood in a reflector supplying the accent light for the back with a less bright photoflood in a reflector giving me the light from the front. I know it's not perfect, but, hey, I still caught the baby's great expression. I believe, not a bad first effort for a 14 year old. I think I sold it for about $10. Big bucks back then. The entrepreneurial spirit was just budding.
I even bought my first real camera in 1964 - the Mamiya Super Deluxe rangefinder model. I paid a whopping $52.53 for the camera. My parents thought I was crazy to spend that kind of money.....especially on a camera.

The second image is post Photoshop. I know what you are thinking - "Hold on one minute, Ziser - that's cheating." Well, not really, remember, back in the good old days, we used real darkroom techniques called "burning and dodging" to get the print densities where we wanted them. Where do you think Adobe came up with those terms?

A year later, at age 15, I shot my first wedding. I was the proverbial friend of a friend shooting the job. A friend of my dad's at work had a daughter getting married and I got the job. My first medium format camera was a Yashica A. I was off and running!!

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, you still understood the idea of composition (at 15) and you were using hot lights at 15!

    No wonder you stuck with it.