DAD AT THE TRAIN STATION,
PAINESVILLE, OHIO, 1959
first photograph I made that mattered to anyone other than me
is this one, of my father watching a train leave the station
It's a picture from one of our photographic outings. We'd go
to places he liked - circuses, train stations, working quarries,
livestock auctions, parades with pretty girls, weddings and
prize fights. I liked these places too, so the tone was always
easy and light. He was a teacher but never instructed. He'd
just say things from time to time, like "Look for strong
diagonals", "Remember the 'S' curve", "Keep
the sun at your back", "Bad weather makes good pictures"
and a favorite "The unusual wins out over the usual."
In 1960 this picture won a small prize in the Kodak National
High School Photo Contest. I sometimes wonder what would have
happened to my photographic life without that little award.
My father was pleased. The picture has a strong diagonal, the
sun's near my back and the weather is bad.