My history with Digital Images.

 

In 1984 I purchased my first computer, a Kaypro ‘portable’. It was portable if you were Hulk Hogan. It was a small heavy suitcase which opened to reveal a keyboard and a little green screen. It ‘processed‘ words, not images and was a a great improvement over the typewriter; I could make instant corrections and I could type late at night without waking people because unlike the typewriter it was virtually silent.

 

But soon I became aware of the possibilities of digital photography and what was then called ‘The Electronic darkroom’. I couldn’t wait. I wrote several articles on the rising phenomenon, and in the early 90s I discovered that the University of Maryland                 ( Baltimore Campus) had a pioneering computer lab which was dedicated to image processing. Soon I wheedled an invitation to work there during off-hours thanks to David Yager, the very kind founder of the program, one of the first in the nation.  

 

Before long, thanks to David’s generosity, I was trundling up the University of Maryland in Baltimore several times a week, a drive of about 200 miles round trip from my home in Loudoun County. Virginia.  Digital cameras didn’t exist then except for outrageously expensive machines used by industry, so I scanned analog negatives to get a digital image.

 

A few years later ( around 1996)  I had my first image computer, a hulking beast ( name of which I’ve forgotten)  which contained a scanner and image processing software known as TIPS which resulted in files with the extension TGA, commonly called Targa files. I don’t suppose I need to add that Photoshop, today's ubiquitous image processing program, didn’t exist then. Aided by TIPS  I created my first digital series, called War Stories, examples of which are displayed on this site.

 

Around 1998, digital cameras became available and I leaped onto the bandwagon  with a a beautifully designed pocket camera, the Fuji M X-700, which I still own although I doubt if I could get it to work again if only because its components are probably no longer manufactured. 

 

 In 1999 I moved to England bringing with me my little digital Fuji and a few film cameras. The millennium year came and went with fireworks and a gigantic ferris wheel on the Thames, and a year or two later I began using an early version of Photoshop.

 

In 2001 I really cut the cord; I sold my entire film darkroom – a 35mm enlarger, a 4x5 enlarger and an 8x10 mammoth enlarger, not to mention a pile of trays, timers, thermometers and other battered accessories. I haven’t looked back since. I think I took maybe five or six analog photographs during my time in England. In fact, my remaining film cameras soon followed the enlargers, and the proceeds enabled me to go through a succession of digital cameras during my five years in England, none of them completely satisfactory. Not much of my English digital work survives, but I did a few series at that time, including Vanitas, War Stories, and Woman Impervious, all seen elsewhere on this site.  

 

After returning to the US in 2004, I continued my digital photography but only recently have I felt digital cameras have progressed to the point where they are the technical equal of film cameras.

 

Another breakthrough happened when I discovered the cellphone camera. Thanks to the wizardry of artificial intelligence algorithms, my Pixel2 cellphone is as good, if not better, I than my larger digital equipment ( as long as I don't print wall-sized images) and I am now firmly committed to the cellphone which I carry with me always.  

The fact that my tiny camera also contains a telephone and a video camera seems almost incidental. I rarely use either, although my wife is reassured by the fact that if I fall down while in pursuit of an elusive image I will be able to call her. Not only that, but I can make a little video of the swamp I'm lying in.  

 

So that’s where I am now, an elderly photographer down to one tiny camera which is pretty much how I began. My romance with digital photography is now almost twenty years old old, more or less, and this website ( and its companion site devoted to my film photography)  highlights the best of that never-ending search for meaning in photography..  

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