Early Works

The Slide, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1968


In 1968, I saved my allowance money and purchased a cheap instamatic camera from a cereal company. My dad's family slideshows and issues of Life and Look magazines were the whole of my exposure to photography. It was enough; I was hooked. For a reason I can no longer remember I started with black and white film.

In this image—one of my earliest—I designed a photo shoot with the help of an assistant, my friend Rita. Her job was to help my "prop" to the top of the slide. The prop was my trusting and unsuspecting little nephew, John. I wanted to capture the action, which meant risking the safety of his landing. I couldn't be expected to both make the picture and catch John, and I really wanted to make the picture. Remembering the outing and my excitement to experiment makes this image valuable to me. I love that the initial exhilaration and pleasure of photography still resonates inside me.

As for the rest of the story, John did have a bit of a rough landing, but I am happy to report that he survived the outing without injury, and has grown into a fine man. Rita remains my friend, though she not longer serves as my photo assistant.

And I still use black and white film.