IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #633 – A LOSS OF INNOCENCE

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I made this photo in the early 1960’s. Over fifty years ago when I was just a young teen. It changed my life and in a strange way took away from me more than it ever gave.

I loved baseball and photography. I had complained to my dad how awful the sports photos were in our daily paper. My dad suggested I do something about it. Go make some good photos and sell them to the paper. I did. They started buying my photos to the tune of five dollars each. At the age of 12, I was taking in an easy hundred dollars a week making photos. Additionally, parents would buy prints at the same price. A pretty good allowance for a young teen in the early sixties. Football followed baseball, then faded into basketball and then returned to springtime and baseball.

This photo was made on my very first night of attempting to make baseball photos. Beginners luck and all that. Heck looking through a twin lens reflex, everything was backwards and reversed, it was like trying to cut your own hair in a mirror. Two or three times a week, after playing a game and still in my baseball uniform and cleats, I would exchange my baseball glove for a rebuilt and battered Rolleiflex and a used Metz electronic flash. I had to respectfully argue with coaches and umpires that I was with the newspaper and had a right to be there. From the Irving Daily News, I had an editor, Jack Harkryder and a sports editor, Hardy Price that stood by me and taught me to stand my ground. I was a working member of the press and had the right and reason to be there. I also had the loving encouragement of my dad who had served in WWII as a Navy combat photographer. He critiqued and taught me along the way. He provided me with MOST of the tools needed for my journey.

This image went on to win several photo contests. The best was a National photo contest sponsored by Kodak ( the yellow God of Rochester) an event that won me two hundred and fifty dollars. I was hooked.

But real quickly, I was hooked to the wrong passion. I quickly started seeing and finding ways to make money with my photography. I lost the innocence and the wonder of just making photos for the sole purpose of feeding my soul. I was more interested in feeding my wallet and not my heart.

I  remained on that same path (and it ain’t the narrow one) for far too long. I am returning to the sheer joy in the delight of finding images that warm my heart. I truly believe that this pleasure of feeding my heart will provide for me. And if it doesn’t, I will die with a very full heart. While you can’t take a lot with you, I believe a full heart stays with you to the end.

Follow a path set by your heart, not money!††† en theos †††jw

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