Sunday, July 31, 2011

Graphic Design

I have been working with graphic designers on the covers for three of my books.  One of the covers I designed myself.  Oddly enough, I like my cover the least. I broke all the rules I laid down for my designers to follow--and did not break them in a "good" way.  This just proves a theory I have that all great photographers are not necessarily great graphic designers.

A great photographer (of a certain type) may be able to unerringly recognize a great photo, but can not necessarily create it from scratch.  The great photo has to BE there, ALREADY COMPLETE, in front of him before he can take it. A graphic designer starts from a blank page. 

Different game altogether...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is a photo from the last wedding of my 48 (48, yikes!) year career in photography. My sweet mentee, Megan, catching a football (raw photojouranism, not set up) in her wedding dress. What a way to go out! We hugged and creid as I left the wedding. Goodbye to Megan and a life in photography--both of us off to new adventures...!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1947 Packard Automobile

Another time another place. Dead folks... My fahter in about 1947 with two unknown and now unknowable peresons in an unknowable place with an automobile he and his friends of that era surely could not afford.

Smoking cigarettes before thay became unfashionable... Shot on a big hunk of roll film in a camera that produced a goofly long rectangle... The photographer? Unknown...

This is an ordinary scene with ordinary people in an unremarkable town, yet time--time--has created a mystery and wonder in an unthinking sampshot taken before I was born.  And it is time--our ablility to slice time into segments of 1/100th of a second or so and then keep those slices for a long long time that makes photography magic.

Friday, July 15, 2011

VW Beetles and Pancakes

On Saturday, I will do the last wedding in a career that started for me at the age of 15, when I shot my first solo wedding for a small town studio.  The owner's wife had to drive me to and from the venues, as I did not have a driver's license. All the happy couples were only about 18 years old, and I was a big kid for my age, so no one questioned why a 15 year old was shooting a wedding for an established studio.

Back then, we shot the same 36 photos of each wedding (3 rolls of 12 square format on 120 film).  They were all printed as 8X10's and we put 12 of the 36 into a crappy album for $150. The other 24 were available for $10 each.  Most people bought all 36 for a total of $390.   Since you could buy a VW Beetle new for under $1000 back then, and a new Beetle today is about $20,000, that wedding cost $7800 in 2011 dollars for 36 shots and 3 hours of shooting time. The photographer I worked for supported a wife and two kids on what he earned, sometimes fitting in 4 weddings in a day when I was helping.

What is my point?  There is a team of photogrpahers from Toronto ("we have 14 years experince shooting weddings!") who will drive here and shoot 12 hours on a wedding for $500 flat and give the client all the image files and copyright. They are not supporting a wife and two kids in Toronto shooting weddings, becasues in 1963 dollars they are grossing only $12.50  each for the whole 12 hour day plus 5 hours of driving--workng out to 70 cents per hour, less the cost of gasoline to drive here.

In 1963, I also had a job as a dishwaher in a pancake house that paid 90 cents per hour and all I could eat.
Photographers these days are netting less money than a dishwasher but without the free pancakes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Recovering Photographer

At my advanced age, I have changed careers yet again.  I exaggerate. This is only the second major change. On the 17th of October 1977, I quit social work and became a full-time photographer.

On December 18, 2008, I began writing my first novel. Starting sometime in 2010 or maybe 2009, I began writing every day and finished an elite course with an Ontario College Graduation Certificate in Creative Writing. My score thus far is two novels completed, one novella based on a screenplay and two screenplays. Another novella is underway--a second book in the continuing adventures of a delightful and funny team of detectives--Max and Molly.

Stay tuned for updates. The first one will be published very soon.  Here's the cover design: