Who are these people? - Part III

So far I've given some background on our professional lives and told you a little about Denise's passions.  Now I guess I have to share a bit more about myself.

I've enjoyed different forms of art from grade school classes and art appreciation courses in college.  I took formal lessons on oil painting as a teenager from the Bill Alexander school and a few of those "masterpieces" are still hanging in my parent's home so either they weren't awful or my mom doesn't have the heart to tell me they stink.  

My Olympus OM-10

My Olympus OM-10

I picked up my first film camera in middle school to take photos of my friends and life growing up in South Florida in the mid-70's.  Only a handful of those photos survive and I won't torture you by sharing any of them.  The Kodak Instamatic was amazingly forgiving as much as modern smart-phone cameras are today.  

Shortly after heading off to college, I bought my first SLR (an Olympus OM-10).  Through the 80's I took snapshots.  Meaning I grabbed the moment with a moderate understanding of how to properly expose the shot and not much consideration for composition.  I spent all my time on the technical aspects of getting a good shot but never really applied any of my art training to photography.  If you've never shot film, it's a very different animal.  For every shot you took a stab at correctly exposing the frame given your film speed and aperture, but didn't know if you'd guessed right until the film was developed days or weeks later.  And then, unless you took really good notes, there was little feedback as to why a picture turned out or didn't.  Those guys in the photo labs had their work cut out.  The best pro cameras at that time were starting to embed camera settings into the border of the negative (the first EXIF data) but mine was not one of those.  The OM-10 does have a built in light meter and a rudimentary aperture priority mode, but the rest is all very manual.  There are a few photos from this period that managed to turn out despite my efforts to the contrary.  Last year I went back and tried to scan in all those old negatives.  Most were pretty badly damaged by light or dust or moisture.  I wasn't the best curator either, apparently.  I managed a few dozen salvages from that time.  I still have the OM-10 as you can see from this Instagram shot on the right.  It's in good working order although I shoot it far less often as it becomes more difficult and costly to shoot 35mm film.

Cannon Beach, Oregon.  August 1989. Restored from damaged Kodak Gold 200 35mm film negative.

Cannon Beach, Oregon.  August 1989. Restored from damaged Kodak Gold 200 35mm film negative.

Munich, New Town Hall, July 1999.

Munich, New Town Hall, July 1999.

I mentioned before that I traveled quite a bit after graduation.  So you'd think I would have been smart enough to document my wanderings with decent photographs.  I wasn't that smart.  It was the start of the digital camera era and first generation point-and-shoot boxes were all the rage.  So, while I have quite the collection of images from across the US, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Belgium, the opportunity was squandered with only those low-resolution snapshots to document some amazing places and people.  

When my son came along my photography focus turned exclusively to documenting him growing from infant to young man.  His mother and I split up 8 years ago which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  With my new found freedom I decided to rediscover those things in my life I gave up for one reason or another along the way.  One of those interests was photography and I bought my first DSLR.  It was a Nikon D5000 and kit lens.  Not a great camera by today's standards but from the moment I pressed that shutter, my life-long flirtation with photography blossomed into love.  I could finally apply and grow my understanding of artistic composition on a platform that provided immediate feedback.  It was a real game changer for me.  With all of the content available on the Internet I could now learn at my own pace through my own shooting and study of other people's work and processes.  I started using Photoshop then Lightroom which continue to evolve and add powerful functionality.  I've upgraded my camera equipment two generations since that first DSLR with the best glass I can afford, inexpensive studio gear and DIY (Do It Yourself) widgets as much as possible.  I want to take my proficiency and artistic expression of photography as far as my days on this earth.  I admire successful social media photography personalities like Matt Granger, Elia Locardi, Tony & Chelsea Northrup, and Aaron Nace just to name a few.  I don't want to emulate any of their successful formulas.  I have my own ideas which I'll share along the way.

I met Denise 2 1/2 years ago.  She's an amazing woman and we're a perfect fit.  She supports my artistic endeavors in every way imaginable and I try to help her with her pursuits as well.  She keeps me healthy in body, and I challenge her mind.  We're going to grow old together, but we're not going to sit in rocking chairs and crumble.  We are going to re-invent our lives to focus on our passions and see more of the world in the process.  This blog will document our journey from our as-is state (which I've just shared in these past few posts) to our future life as we realize this dream.  We still have a million details to work out.  We'll make plenty of mistakes along the way.

I'm excited to share all of that with you as we go.

Jim SetzerComment