I was 12 years old when I took my very first picture with my Dad’s camera, a Kodak “Hawkeye” Brownie. Two years later I joined the photography club in school. I picked up my first 35mm camera (a Nikon, go figure), shot some photos with it and then went into the darkroom for the very first time to develop them.  It was a dimly lit place with an amber like glow. There was a strong acidic smell in the air and the equipment that was there looked ominous to me at the time.  When it was my turn, I loaded my negative in one of those ominous machines, then placed a piece of silver halide coated paper into an easel and pressed a timer button.  When the timer stopped, I took the paper and placed it in this foul smelling liquid. Magically before my eyes this really cool image popped out! That’s all it took. It was at that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I began photographing almost everything in sight. I wanted to experience that magical thing happen again and again.
Since then I haven’t looked back.

I’m sure a lot of other working professional photographers have had this same exact experience.  For me it’s opened many doors I may never have had the opportunity to walk through. It’s allowed me the privilege of meeting many individuals I most likely would have never met, and experiences that some could only dream about.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t gone into the darkroom that day.

Yes, many years later photography continues to be good to me in many ways.

This is the first camera I ever took a photograph with.

This is the first camera I ever took a photograph with.

Please visit my website to learn more: Joseph Anzalone, Photographer/Film Maker

*As a footnote, I still have that Kodak Hawkeye camera on display in my office.