It was 1987, I was 16 going on 17 and I selected photography as my elective with yearbook staff as my 2nd elective. My favorite class without a doubt was photo and being able to crack open the film canister , develop it and make prints in the darkroom was seriously magical. My photo teacher was Mr. Benke and to this day he still works at the high school I graduated from moving up to Director of Admissions. I’m willing to bet he misses teaching photography. I graduated from a private school, I wish my kids could have attended also but although I graduated from a well-respected school, I never went to college and basically can’t afford the tuition for any of my kids. I like that old song, “Even though we don’t got money, I’m so in love with you, honey…” I remember very well Mr. Benke telling me, “it doesn’t matter the quality of photo equipment, if you have an eye that’s what makes a great photograph” or something to that effect. I think it was one of the best pieces of advice I have received when it comes to photography.
I did a lot of things in 1987 I worked my first job at my parents yogurt shop along side two of my best friends whom I still hang out with and I drove a 1965 Mustang to my first job almost every day after school. My first love was Rich West and he also happened to be our first dollar we made at our little 1950’s inspired yogurt shop, Blondies.
Shauna, Lisa and Me
Me and my red Mustang, her name was Jasmine
My first love Rich and my husband today!!! Dreams do come true!
I carried my camera with me most places, a 35mm FR Yashica that my grandpa gave me. I had one lens only, a 50mm. I couldn’t wait to finish a roll so I could go back to school and develop it. One of my favorite spots to shoot was my hometown of Fullerton and especially the train station. I would most often go alone and meet strangers occasionally and ask to take their photos, the conversations were always interesting, I did a lot of day dreaming as I walked the sidewalks and shot little things that caught my eye. I would sit on benches and write poetry and read philosophy with my soul friend Ronda up on the top of the parking structures among other things not worth mentioning. But again the darkroom is a place I felt escape, peace, creation and it just felt right, like I belonged.
My first camera, thank you grandpa not only for the camera but for believing in my talent
I met this stranger at the train station, I was drawn to him because of his style and sat and talked a good long while. My speed was set a little high and the one and only shot I took looks like he was screaming at me but really he was just talking quite animated, I do remember he was very enthusiastic.
Later when I married young and had my first little baby boy, I still had not lost my love for photography. I had by this time moved up to a Minolta 7000i still an analog camera but with fully automatic features. We lived in the historical part of uptown Whittier and just down at the end of Painter on Whittier Blvd. there was a place called the Photographers Space, run by a nice man named Mike. I thought Mike was rather cool because he had actually seen the Doors live in concert back in the day and he let me play whatever music I wanted while I rented the darkroom space from him. This was about 16 years ago when I used this space which was so convenient to where I lived and it was a bit of a get away. I again found that escape, peace, a place to create and a place where I belonged. One year I hand printed my Christmas cards, it was a photograph of our little Austin dressed as an angel. I think I made at least 30 idential prints to give away that day. I also did some shots for a dear friend of mine, she wanted boudoir shots done and didn’t want just anybody developing them. I even did a fun photo shoot of a friend of mine and her room mates. I also took some photographs of my forever friend Ronda for her wedding engagement and just cause photo’s of beautiful her. All done in this wonderful space I rented by the hour. I always, always wanted my very own darkroom but never knew how I would have the money or place to build one.
Austin fell out this very window and Rich dove through it after him, fastest I have ever seen anyone move! We were young, we learned a very valuable lesson, leave the windows down.
The famous Christmas card, mascara included. Sorry Aussie but you have to agree, pretty cute little guy.
My beautiful friend Ronda, aka DaizyMoon, when smoking was cool.
gorgeous Italian girl who I swear I have known even somehow before we were even born.
This past weekend my father-n-law just happened by a yard sale in our very neighborhood and it had two enlargers for sale. They only wanted 25.00 a piece for them. He knows his daughter-n-law very well and he called to see if I might be interested. I didn’t even have 25.00 to spend on it but luckily we have a mortgage account to steal from, so I felt in this case that would be alright. Not only did I get this enlarger but Ron, the owner of the enlarger called me back later that night because I had left my phone number and he gave me, developing trays, amber lighting, tongs, clips, film canisters, darkroom in a bag and a few other things for FREE. So I’m going to say that the timing is perfect with my parents just giving me their old analog cameras and as I just began to shoot film again just last week. It’s a blessing to say the least and my friend Teri said it best, our God is so personal with His blessings, so very personal. I consider this a gift from above. I have no choice but to build a darkroom now. I just have to right? Just like I have to shoot my mom’s old brownie even if I have to order the film from Israel and wait 6 weeks to get it. Life is good in the West, very, very good.
Not the best photograph (sorry about that) but when I looked this up online, I found it went for about 325.00 and I only paid 25.00!!! OH MY WORD! It better work.
The free loot he threw in with the deal!! Even some expired film to play with:) Lots of photo paper too, hope that doesn’t go bad.