How I Became a Professional Photographer and What I Saw Along the Way: My First Photo
Welcome to the first part of what I hope will be a never-ending series on how I got from Point A (newborn) to Point B (someone who makes his living from photography). I will jump around throughout the years, highlighting milestones from my journey. Really, I can skip ages 0 through 6 because I didn’t take a single photo during those years. I wasn’t one of these 21st century kindergarteners using his parents’ newfangled iCamera devices, carelessly clicking away at anything that passes him by. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, we had film, which meant there was a financial commitment involved with the taking of each photo. Who would waste perfectly good film on a boy who still had to use the “double bunny ears” method for tying his shoelaces (as opposed to the far more challenging “through the rabbit hole” method)?
I very vividly remember taking my first photo: I was 7 years old, the subject was my father and the camera was of the 110-format variety. And remember those 4-sided disposable flash cubes? You would plug it into a socket on top of the camera and it would automatically rotate each time you rewound the camera after taking a flash photo. After four photos, the cube was used up and it was trash. Well, the camera was decked out with one of those too. I was given VERY strict instructions to hold the camera as still as possible. I used all my concentration to hold that camera rock-steady, thinking that even the smallest movement would ruin the photo. In retrospect, I didn’t need to hold it still at all because it was a dimly lit room and flash durations are very short, even on cheap flash cubes. But apparently my instructors (my father and 10-year-old sister) weren’t armed with this knowledge. I gently pushed the button, saw the bright flash, and then quickly checked the back of the camera to see if the photo was worth keeping. What? Oh yeah, this was film. That meant I had to wait until the 24-exposure roll was eventually used up, the film was taken to the photo lab, and my father returned with the finished product: a 3.5″ x 5″ print. And here it is, a scan of my masterpiece:
I will never recall what my second photo was, but this one is etched in my memory forever as my first. Do you remember yours?
Other posts in the series, How I Became a Professional Photographer and What I Saw Along the Way:
- Connections, Connections, Connections
- The Entrepreneurial Spirit
- Applying to Photography School
- Digital Can’t Do That
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- Madison Square Garden
- First Concert