In 1975 I was lucky enough to gain entrance to Cornish College of the Arts, then known as Cornish College of the Allied Arts. Entrance was based on portfolio review and I had put together a collection of drawings and studies I had done over the years. I had been drawing from childhood, but more recently, (at that point I was 23) I had been doing some figure studies and other pieces on my own and for high school and community college.
As I advanced through Cornish’s Fine Art program studying painting and drawing, I wanted a way to record my artwork for my own records. So I acquired a Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm film camera, from a former photographer of the old alternative newspaper The Northwest Passage. And began documenting my artwork. I am so glad I did, because today, save for a large painting that I retrieved from a friend’s wall, all my large paintings are gone. Lost to the vagaries of shifting time, moves to different places, and the ultimate difficulty of dealing with the burden of large scale artwork. You can see some of these paintings and sculpture projects in the sidebar gallery titled “Cornish Days”.
I knew next to nothing about photography or cameras then, but learned the basics of loading film, and exposure. At that point I wasn’t interested in photography as an art form or a trade. I was simply interested in documenting my artwork.
The Spotmatic F was a great little camera. It was fully manual, had a metered viewfinder for exposure, and a full range of screw-mount, interchangeable lenses. I used this camera throughout my three years at Cornish, and ultimately taking it on the road when I left academia for the more rugged cross country travel in a railroad boxcar and subsequent trans-oceanic passage on a freighter from Baltimore to Rotterdam.
But that’s another story.