I have been taking photographs for most of my life, though there have been breaks in my focus on the subject.
I kinda' stumbled into taking photos after making a reflecting telescope in the early 1960's. Natually I wanted to take photos with my new toy. A 50¢ Kodak publication on B&W developing and away I went on a new journey. There were a few photos taken thru the telescope, but unfortunately they are long lost.
Tips from books and magazines helped fuel my education and as always, just plain 'hands on' experience added to my interest. I was lucky in that the main city library was only four blocks away, one of the many Carnegie libraries that were built all over the US. Later the building became the Carnegie Art Center. My photographs were on display there in 1977 in the room that had once been the children's library.
In high school, I joined the paper staff and became one of the photographers. After high school I attended night classes at University of Kentucky Northern Center (now NKU). During the day I worked in a lithographic shop as litho cameraman. I still was taking pictures, but really didn't see it as art. Nothing like an art history textbook to change your mind! I had grown up eagerly awaiting the arrival of LIFE & LOOK magazines each week, but then they were just pictures. That's when I started to think about photography as a way to make a living.
I took part in a couple of photo workshops in 1974, including one with Jerry N. Uelsmann. Mr. Uelsmann inspired some work with multiple images, something I'm just starting to explore with digital media. I got more serious and ended working for a photo studio in Cincinnati. In 1975, I went into partnership with another photographer and established a commerical studio in Covington, Ky.
In 1978, I married my wife Teresa and in 1981 we moved to a remote piece of land in West Virginia. I knew I would be changing professions. I finally ended up in building contracting. We moved to a different spot in the same county and after a few years in 1994 we bought a local video rental/ bookstore. Several times along the way I tried to set up darkrooms and work a little. Water quality and supply were always a problem so I didn't do much darkroom work.
In 2005, my wife talked me into getting a digital camera and suddenly I went wild. The inner artist burst forth and shows no sign of slowing down. I did over the years take a lot of 'mind photos'. Now I'm trying to capture a few of them with pixels.
I still love the silver-based photos, you will see a few of them in my galleries, but I don't miss the long hours in the darkroom under red light or no light. I spent enough time in the darkroom to know what goes into a fine print, whatever the process, and to admire those who still do it.
Some of the same arguments that were heard about photography in the late 1800's from the art world echo in the comments today about digital. It's machine generated, etc.. As far as I'm concerned it's art no matter what the process. Things change! Name some great cave painters working today, not many I'm sure. The processes change, but still it's all about the end result. Ya' like it, or ya' don't.
Thank you for visiting my site. Come back from time to time. I hope you find some images you like and maybe have a laugh or two.
Paul Hartmann 1/15/07