I grew up in what was once a small town in Florida. I say “once”, because a very rich rat came along and changed all that. As a small town kid, I looked forward to the excitement of “Rodeo Day”, when all the students in the county school system got free tickets and a day out of school to attend the Silver Spurs Rodeo. Every year, I could smell and taste the wonderfully cheesy, greasy pizza from the Pizza King‘s cart days before I actually beheld it. Summers were spent building rafts out of any floating scrap material we could find, relying on hundreds of plastic milk jugs collected from neighborhood garbage cans keeping our sorry ships afloat.
In 1976, my father gave me my first SLR – a German-made Wirgin Edixa Reflex, circa 1959. Being a 9th grader in high school, I developed the habit of carrying that camera around with me. Everywhere. I was a natural for the yearbook, the photo club, the school newspaper… I had been fortunate enough to grow up in a house with a b&w darkroom and a father who loved photography – and still does today. I felt creative and alive in that darkroom in ways I felt nowhere else.
I wore out that Edixa. By 1979, every frame of every shot had three parallel scratches that ran horizontally from one end of the roll of my preferred Ilford 100 film to the other. Then it happened: Dad gave me his well-used Nikon F Photomic FTN just days before I left for Austria to be an exchange student. I was so proud of that camera.
Upon my return from Austria, a chain of events ensued that didn’t end up with me attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and pursuing photojournalism, as I’d dreamed of doing. I exchanged that dream for 30 years of corporate monotony and tedium. And then at last, the opportunity came to make another change; one more aligned with an old, but never dim dream…
Please visit my website, earlharrisphotography.com