When I was growing up through the mid 1970’s and 1980’s my grandfather was a photo hobbyist. I’d see his gear lying around the house and on occasion watch him snap pictures at family events. These were never more than banausic observations on my end; however his cameras, lenses, and flashes all caught my attention. I never did bother to ask my grandfather anything about his hobby but it was obvious that photography beckoned. He (John Klimek), passed away when I was in my mid 20’s. His photography equipment would remain stored in boxes for another decade until my grandmother decided it was time to sell the house that she raised her family in. Before dispersing of its contents, I asked if I could have his old photography equipment. I ended up with a bunch of light meters, filters and other items that I had no idea how to use.
Needless to say, I am completely self- taught. The 30 year old Pentax bodies that I inherited were the first SLR cameras that I owned. I had no photography background and I didn’t know what the term “proper exposure” meant. I knew even less about off camera lighting. To be quite honest, I had to ask someone how to change the lenses. What did grab my attention was the fact that I had a decent collection of glass. I was told that it was fully compatible with modern day equipment so I purchased a DSLR body and put the lenses to use. It took a few years of “professional development” but after lots of trial and error I began to feel comfortable enough with my equipment that I would take pictures for friends who had the courage to ask. To this day I look at those pictures and laugh knowing how awful they were. Nevertheless it was the stepping stone to bigger things.
Eventually I stumbled upon David Hobby’s website. I was so compelled that I attended a class he was teaching with Joe McNally, both world class photographers. It was then that I realized there was a completely different approach to photography. The Strobist consuetude sparked an even greater fascination with my pictures and I was beginning to see my work morph into what it is today. Although by no means perfect, my photography is now my own. I enjoy the style that I’ve developed over the past seven years and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. What amazes me the most is that the manual equipment my grandfather purchased almost 40 years ago is now being used to take pictures of his great grandchildren in this day and age of a digital divide. Conjointly, his great grandchildren will be documenting their own lives with his equipment. Good stuff.