Susan Sontag (1933 – 2004) author, literary theorist, and political activist from, "On Photography"
(U.S. High Diving Team '81, photo by RJW)
If I could have a second career it would be as a photographer. Granted, I am coming upon it a bit late, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Oh, I could put on my résumé that I was an official photographer and that I had photos published in newspapers around the country, picked up by Associated Press, The National Enquirer, but I just took it in stride being the official photographer for a major amusement park. I photographed Elton John, Rolling Stones’ keyboardist Ian McLagan, who was on ’81 tour; a runaway bear dragging its trainer on the ground; high divers; Michael Jackson wearing a Groucho Marx mustache and glasses while watching the Temptations; and various other miscellanies around the park. Sadly, I cannot find many of the photos, if I ever had them, but I did get a few good shoots. Still, I never viewed myself as a photographer.
Photographers know what they were doing; know how to develop film, know how to mix chemicals make the photos highlight key aspects of the picture, and know lighting and exposure settings. Me, I would, and still do, take numerous photos hoping that one of the photos on the contact sheet spying it through a photographer’s loop would turn out once I sent it out to be developed.
However, today, I have a greater appreciation of the art of photography and realize how little I know, and today the camera is almost idiot proof and has so many features that you can experiment and even take pictures of something photographed numerous times and still eke out something original. Because I have the Toner Mishap soapbox, I can share my amateur photos with the world and I will as times goes by.
Thank you for your indulgence.
(Smothers Brothers, Tommy and Dick circa. '81, photo by RJW)