I've been a hobbyist photographer since I was ten. My very first camera was a hand-me-down, a Brownie box-style that I think belonged to my grandmother. Back then it was all too easy to double expose frames by forgetting to advance the film between shots, or completely ruin an entire roll of pictures if the film was carelessly exposed it to light. I was guilty of both. With my first cameras, the biggest challenge to ending up with decent pictures was finding a dark, shaded place to change the roll of film. Cartridges were an amazing innovation introduced back in the 70s. You just dropped the film cartridge into the camera, wound it to the first frame, and you were good to go. Best thing since sliced bread.
My early photographs were all black and white. Even as a young adult I could rarely afford the luxury of color film. I recently came across a picture of me taken on my nineteenth birthday. Trust me when I say that black-and-white film just doesn’t capture the full impact of a wild, pink and orange, paisley, mini dress, worn with white fishnet stockings and orange pumps. Maybe that’s just as well.
Today, black-and-white photography is an art form. It’s a way of seeing rather than a sign that one is financially challenged. I have to admit that I love the depth of detail and shadow that you can often only get in what is now called Monochrome Mode. Some of my favorite subjects are bare, twisted trees and the stark skeletons of cacti, or rocky outcrops where the shading from lightest grey to deepest black draws the eye and tells a story.
So, the photograph I am sharing with you here is the first photo I have ever had published (SandScript Art and Literary Magazine, 2018.) I call it Feed Me. As austere as this remnant of a living cactus might be, it made me smile. Not sure what that says about my sense of humor.