Born 1955 . . . I have been shooting photos steadily for over fifty years, fifty seven to be exact, if we count getting my own first camera as the official start, a Kodak Instamatic, birthday present I think, 1962. But I had fired off photos before that on my dad's camera.
Didn't like reading when I was a kid. Not until my late twenties did I voluntarily read my first book. I loved photos, paintings, drawings. If a book didn't have pictures in it, I didn't bother and then the only reading I did were the captions.
Dad was my first photography teacher . He passed in 2003. Living in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, very ill with cancer and it was thought to be just a few days left for him. I was in LA flying out to him the next day when I got the call he was gone. It came at night while I was shooting photos at a crowded party up in the Hollywood Hills, the sprawling estate of a movie director who had hired me. I shot on a few of his films and he loved my work. Told him my dad just died and had to leave. He walked me out, arm around my shoulders, consoling me . . . a large man. Tried convincing me to stay. It was an important event for him. I was fighting back the grief, barely able to talk. He suggested sometimes the best thing to do when you're hurting is to keep working. His arm around me felt like he was trying to hold me there. I just wanted to get away as fast as I could. When we got to the end of the long driveway he tried one last time . . .“Maybe it's not good for you to be alone right now.” The only thing I wanted at that moment was to be completely alone. He let go.
Walking to my pick-up truck on this secluded dark street my legs gave out from under me and I dropped to the pavement. Any strength I had had left my body. Here it comes, oh god, here it comes. Gotta get to the pick-up. Locked myself inside. Cried harder & deeper than I ever had in my life. My dad is gone.
As best as mom can remember, now eighty eight, he started shooting photos around the time they got married. She doesn't remember any camera during college when they first met. First camera of his that I remember and got my hands on was a Rolleiflex TLR. A magical thing . . . I loved looking through the viewfinder and playing with the focus. Considered by many one of the finest cameras ever made. Richard Avedon's favorite camera to shoot with for much of his career. It was a beauty and now a collector's item. Dad's next camera was a Pentax Spotmatic. Soon after getting it he built a darkroom in the basement of our house. That first showing up is when I got very interested. Taught me how to develop film and print prints.
cheers . . . . . Michael Tighe