From Forbidden Shots to Artistic Passion: My Journey Into Photography

My very first photograph

I would say this was taken around 1974. Without my father’s permission, I borrowed his Canon FTb 35mm SLR camera out of the hall closet, read the manual to figure out that I needed to match the needle with the circle in the viewfinder, and put two pet lizards on my bed in the sunlight from my west-facing window and took a picture. Then I coaxed one of them into lying on his back so I could take a picture of his blue belly.

The second photograph I’d ever taken

With that, I put the camera and the instruction manual back in its case, returned it to the hall closet, and forgot about them. I didn’t tell my father I’d used his camera. I think in the back of my mind I was worried that he’d be mad.

Quite a while later I came home from school to see these two photo prints sitting on my bed. I don’t remember what discussion we had about it, but the result was I had his permission to use the camera from that point on. So I took two more photos, these of my pet Regal Horned Lizard.

This is an endangered species nowadays. Back in the 70s, not so much — they could be found all around Tucson, Arizona. I liked them because they looked like a dinosaur, and they have a unique ability to squirt blood out of their eyes.

No, that’s not a myth. It’s real: See National Geographic Video

Anyway, from this point on I began taking his camera out and using it. It didn’t take long for it to somehow become my camera, and as I grew older, I started taking classes, attaining lenses, and even ended up with a darkroom.

Then and now…

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