The Boston Years
The first photograph I took that spoke to me is the one titled “Rosie”, Defiance, Ohio 1972. I was at The Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio for one semester in 1972. I picked the school solely because of its name. I was not a particularly good student at this time of my life but something happened there that was the catalyst to my obsession with photography. I had a political science professor who took an interest in me and introduced me to the darkroom at the school. He hired me to take some photographs of a sculpture he had made or bought, I don’t remember the specifics, but they were the first rolls of film that I had ever developed and printed. And though the pictures came out horribly I was intrigued by the process. I loved the solitude of the darkroom. I loved the chemistry and precision that you needed to work in that environment.
I remember the day I took that photograph. I had one roll of film and I went to the park with two friends of mine, Rosie and Sue. It was a cold winter day and they were running through the playground jumping through piles of leaves, over the support where the seesaws used to be, sliding down the slide, spinning on the merry-go-round and me following around trying to capture the merriment of the day, documenting these moments in time…. I didn’t use the whole roll of film, I took about 15 shots at the playground and a few on our way back to the school. I went back to the dorm and finished the roll. The next day I rushed to the darkroom to develop my film and see what I had. I remember the excitement of anticipating what I had captured and seeing the results. I remember looking at my negatives thinking that I had overdeveloped them, I remember printing the first contact sheets and finally a print. When I saw the photograph of “Rosie” I thought, wow this is pretty cool. It was a very soft background and a tender, pensive moment. It didn’t matter that you couldn’t see her whole face, you could feel her ease. It was a beautiful moment, a perfect slice of life instantly frozen in time. I was hooked.
At the end of the semester, I left the school and went back to Boston. I enrolled at the New England School of Photography where I studied for the next two years with the hope of becoming a commercial photographer, but I could never get off the streets. People fascinated me. I loved the way I could capture them in an instant and preserve the moment forever. This is the beginning of my “Boston Years 1972 – 1975”.
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