#TBT A Photo I Took as an Alter Boy

black and white photo of a catholic mass
Fr. Schneider Presiding

This is a photo I took when I was in grade school at St Monica’s in Milwaukee. It was the 1970s and every boy was expected to put some time into being an alter boy. No girls were allowed at this time to fill that duty.

It was interesting to be a part of what happened behind the scenes at mass. I am sure there were many girls who were really curious about what went on back there.

This photo was taken from a hallway through a window that looked onto the alter.

Portrait of Rana – 1987


Early in my career I was very fortunate to be aligned with extraordinarily talented and connected people. Partnering with up-and-coming magazines and publications, talented makeup artists and unique personalities provided me with a never ending set of opportunities for creative photo shoots.

It also helped that, at that time, downtown warehouse spaces were so reasonably priced that even a rough studio could be located near the heart of Minneapolis. It was easy to meet interesting people by just walking down the street. And that I did.

I met Rana through a mutual friend and colleague. She was a working actress, which I find to be the best subjects to work with. I found her striking.

The most interesting, talented young people move fast. So as a photographer you have to move fast and get them into the studio before they vanish to another city or thin air.

We did two shoots together. This was our first one. I don’t think it was possible to take a bad photo of her. Every frame was good but I found this image to be the “one”. I wish we could have done more work together but…

For all the techies: I used a Pentax 6×7, Plus-x film, Bronchiolar mono-lights, one with a soft box and one small umbrella – both to camera left.

View from Thornquist House from the Second Floor – 1970


This is one of my earliest images taken sometime in 1970. I had just discovered photography and was using our family’s Kodak Instamatic camera. I took it around the neighborhood and to (grade)school capturing ordinary moments that most people don’t record.
This was shot from the second floor of David Thornquist’s house – my best friend.
I think I developed the film myself.



Selfies and Self Portraits


By now most savvy social media users know that the selfie is not new. What is new is how they are made with new portable technology and how they are seen instantly by so many friends and strangers. The digital age selfie is defined by the capturing device generally being held a little overhead and the inclusion of the raised arm in the shot. Often multiple people are included.

As I stated, the selfie as a form of portraiture isn’t knew. It used to be referred to as a self portrait. Artists and photographers alike often made self portraits. Most famous painters throughout art history made them. Self portraits have been made by artists in the earliest of times but it wasn’t until the 15th century that artists can be frequently identified as depicting themselves as the main subject or characters in the work. Portrait of a Man in a Turban by Jan van Eyck of 1433 may well be the earliest known panel self-portrait.


There are many famous self portraits thought history including Vincent van Gough, Edward Hopper and Chuck Close to name just a few. Every artist at sometime in their career makes a few. It is a regular art school activity.

About My Selfie
At age twelve when I first started photographing with a Kodak Instamatic using my own film, the first thing I did was to take a self portrait. An early selfie, if you will. I have made many since then, however I believe this image is my first one.

Facebook Five Day Black and White Challenge – Minneapolis Cityscape 2014


Day 5


Last day of the 5 Day Challenge.

I like doing cityscapes. I try to accomplish one of two things when shooting them – either show lots of human activity or total absence of human activity. While doing the latter I look for a way to make the city scene seem dark, forbidding and like a dystopic remnant of the future. This image was made on a bright semi-cloudy January day in the afternoon. By metering for the highlights and making the image B&W I made a normally bright reflective city a dark place with dark widows of mystery.

This is the only digital capture in the 5 day challenge.

This challenge was fun. Thank you Ellen Crane for challenging me.

Facebook Five Day Black and White Challenge – Minneapolis Cityscape 7th Street 1980s


Day 4

Between 1983 and 1986 I had a studio in downtown Minneapolis. I was a stone’s throw from the night club First Avenue. From my window I could see the intersection of 7th street and 1st Ave. I also got great light in my studio from the reflective buildings as the sun would set. It was pretty dramatic sometimes.

This is a view looking South-Eastward down 7th street to Hennepin Ave. –  into the heart of downtown.

At the time I had a Nikon F3. This was on Plus-X and I metered for the bright spot of the IDS to get a dramatic shadowy effect.


Facebook Five Day Black and White Challenge


Day 1

I have been challenged by my good friend and dance photographer Ellen Crane to a Facebook 5 day B&W challenge. I am going to take the next 5 days and post images from when I started taking pictures (age 12) and progress through my career to the present. Five images will not scratch the surface of my long involvement with silver halides and pixels so I picked a few that have meaning to me. I hope you like them.

Day one – A stained-glass window at St Monica’s Church in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I went to school at St Monica’s from first through eighth grade. I was introduced to photography in sixth grade. In sixth grade we had elective activities in the afternoon. One of the choices was photography taught by our science teacher Sr Frances. I started with a Kodak Instamatic, went to making pinhole cameras and then bought a 35mm Mamiya Sekor 500DTL. I have always been fascinated by stained glass. I took this morbid little image in 7th grade. After all these years it is still one of my favorite images that I have taken.