As I tell my online class with the PPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I didn’t pick up a camera until I was twenty, going on twenty-one. That’s not counting the Brownie Hawkeye I won on the boardwalk at Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was one of those machines where you move a metal claw around and drop it on something you had little chance in getting. I was thirteen.
No, I’m sorry to say that I was not a child photo prodigy who took that Brownie and went on to becoming the youngest photographer to have a one kid show at MOMA. My background was centered around painting and design, with areas of study in Art History, water color, figure drawing, printmaking, and color theory. My first 35mm camera was my twenty-first birthday present from my parents. A Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm lens.
It didn’t take me long to decide that photography was instant-gratification. While It took me hours or days or sometimes weeks to create a “work of art”, it only took as long as to bring the viewfinder up to my eye, compose and click the shutter to create a photo.
The first trip I went on with my new camera was to Mexico with some friends. I can still remember walking around snapping pictures and absolutely loving it. Of course I had no formal or informal training whatsoever and barely knew what all the buttons were for. I just applied everything I had learned from the years of taking design, drawing, and composition classes.
I guess it didn’t hurt, as the above photo was one of the very first that I can remember taking, or at least it’s one of the few I can still find.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. I still have a few spots in my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Lisbon, Portugal next May 21st. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com. Show me your first photo!!!