Inspired by a question from my friend Nate at Imagekind last night who asked - "..how did you get started in photography and art?" I answered this question with these words:
As far as getting started - there were a few influences - the story goes (that I can remember very vividly) I was a seven year old boy when one day my father and I had gone into his Greek friend's laundromat and I was staring at the sign that listed the cost per ound to have a person's wash done by the laundromat (it was not a self serve - as far as I recall) and out of the clear blue wall that was next to the sign - my father (whose job was as a cop in Greenwich Village, New York City at the time) asked me in a very interrupting way - "so what do you want to be when you grow up?" (I believe this was probably a question inspired in him by his Greek friend who was rather an agressive business man as I remember Nick to be - yes Nick the Greek) and I quickly got a picture in my mind of the blue uniform of both the local cops and the local firemen (both this dark colored blue sort of thing) and a red fire engine passing me by in my mind (these are the two jobs that most of the father's in
my neighborhood occupied at that time) and I quickly blurted out like the seven year old that I was thinking that my father would be proud and responsive to me wanting to be like him - a cop or a fireman - his response - a quick and deep throated - "no your not!!!" - and till this day (his 91st birthday is coming up this February) he has never said a word about that issue since!
Well getting back to the story - a few weeks later my eighth birthday showed up and my parents gave me a brownie camera - and so in my mind I figured that my father didn't want me shooting a gun or some such issue with the job that he had (I simply dropped the fireman side of the equation altogether) and so I figured that they were inviting me to shoot with the camera and that is what I have been doing ever since - I might also add that my mom was a fashion - pattern maker and somewhat of an artist and one of my uncles (Jack Arabian) was a TV projectionist at ABC for many years and I remember visiting the studios of ABC when I was seven as well soI would probably surmise that I decided to be influenced by both my mother's artistic talent and my uncles total absorption by both the media world and inventing *(he has some very substantial inventions under his belt as do several of my close relatives) and to leave some of my father's other talents in with this mix (he was a perfect shot at the firing range *- 100%) and genius as far as mathematics is concerned - both which I can relate to - as well as the person who was the PBA union delegate collecting the dues money from the other officers in the precinct - *(that I will get into at another time) and so the whole thing is that in a sense I am still an eight year old boy when I get behind the camera!