Photography facinates me. It has for over fifty years. Ever since my Cub Scout pack toured the darkroom of Doug Lester, the town's photographer. The magic I experienced in that darkroom started me down a road that has given me a tremendous amount of pleasure and fulfillment through the years.
When I was seven, my camera of choice was the family Kodak Brownie. Later I moved up to my very own brand new Kodak Instamatic. Unfortunately the prints were smaller because I could only make contact prints using my Ansco contact print box and Kodak Tri-Chem-Pak chemicals.
In the late 60's I bought my first Nikon and a couple years after that my first Hasselblad. Somewhere in that time period, I also bought a surplus Virginia State Police 4x5 Crown Graphic. I don't think the trooper ever took it out of his trunk. When the guy behind the counter at Roanoke Photo hauled it out to show it to me I just "had" to have it. After all, real photographers, like Doug Lester, used big honking 4x5 press cameras. I had arrived!!!
For the next thirty or so years, I was involved in a lot of different aspects of photography. I shot everything... people, products, sports, architecture, travel, audio-visual... I even shot a wedding. After encountering the mother of the bride, I discovered what I didn't want to shoot.
Photography today is a world away from those years. I developed color film, 30 rolls at a time, in a big old stainless steel sink. The room was hot and dark and the job was boring. One assistant decided the task was a great opportunity to enjoy a joint... until I followed the happy scent and spoiled his fun. Today my darkroom is digital. It's been years since I've developed a roll of film. All of the darkroom is packed away in the studio's basement.
I embraced digital photography much earlier than most photographers. My "conversion" took place in 1985 when I purchased a digital imaging system from Management Graphics which output to a digital film recorder. About five years later, I saw a demo of a new software package that had just been introduced for the Mac, Adobe Photoshop v1.0. I immediately went out and bought three new Macs because the capabilities were much better than my "old clunker".
Today, the quality of the digital image blows me away. With a few clicks I can create images which would have taken a lot of skill, materials and time in the "darkroom days".
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- Bill Poff
- May 2006
- Christiansburg, VA
- Salem, VA, US
- I am:
- Male and Taken
- Product and Catalog Photographer