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Following my retirement from the working life, I have volunteered my free time to assist local organizations and national non-profits. My Dad was an outstanding example of a volunteer work. While his skills were different, we both found a place in photography.
~ Tom Brokaw
I have been fascinated with photographs since I was old enough to use a camera. In my family, we used photography to document holidays, vacations and the people involved. My Dad taught us the camera basics — f-stop, shutter speed, focus, guide number and coffee breaks. As a result of his influence, my work has always been grounded in classic photojournalism where each picture needs to stand on its own or inform a larger story. As life passes in front of us, the moments worth capturing are only fractions of a second apart from those less interesting. I would rather see a fuzzy image of a great moment more than a technically perfect image of a mediocre concept.
When I hear the term "delayed gratification", I think of my early days with a camera when we sent the film off to Kodak, then waited eagerly for a week or more to see the results. The turning point for me was when I learned to develop my own film and make prints in my small darkroom. As the digital age eventually consumed our analog lives, many of us came to believe that "instant gratification" was a good thing. For me, faster is not always better.
Transposing a three-dimensional moving object into a two-dimensional still image is an interesting challenge for photographers. It really doesn’t matter if you’re using a film camera or a digital camera. Capturing the moment that really tells the story is the high point for me. Where it goes from there is secondary. Digital processing is certainly quicker with less impact on the environment, but it’s also the point that separates photography from illustration. The digital file from my camera is about 90 percent on the way to becoming a finished image; it’s not a starting point for something else. I work with a digital image like I would with film and paper in the darkroom. It’s simply a process that refines the image to what it looked like when I clicked the shutter. I don’t try to make it something it’s not.