At some point in their young lives, most photographers were given a camera or allowed to play with one. I was no exception as I dabbled with a camera in high school. I took photos for the high school year book even. But it wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered the joy and power of the photographic medium. In my freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, I lived in a dorm across the hall from a couple of architecture students, who took photo classes in their first year. As a graphic design student, I wouldn’t take formal photography classes until my second year. A friend and I had been playing with his camera and one of the architect students across the hall invited me one day to hang out with him in the dark room and see how prints were made and that we could print one of the negs I had shot. It was like in the movies, a dark, mysterious place. And smelly too. Only there were yellow safe lights, not red, like in the movies. That first time I saw an image I made appear in that tray of Dektol, I thought it was the closest thing I had ever seen to magic. And then I was hooked. Though it would be many years of merely playing with the camera before I would get serious and devote my full energy to picture making, I have never forgotten that first time in the darkroom, that first of what would many days of magic.
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