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TOM PULA PHOTOGRAPHY

 
ABOUT ME
 
 

Photography has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. After I got my hands on an awesome camera - the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, my dad signed me up for a photo basics course run by a couple of old hands at the local YMCA. No, the skies didn't open with a blazing passion toward some newfound purpose in life. But it was fun, and I began to shoot photos of about everything in sight. I learned how to develop and print my own film in a darkroom my older brother had set up in our basement years before.

 

There was a certain magic to seeing the images form as I stared into the trays under the amber light of the darkroom. That feeling sticks with me even in this era of instant gratification of digital cameras, instagram and powerful computer algorithms. The whole process of creating pictures from the tromping around the landscape or cityscape, visualizing and composing a shot, adjusting the exposure and light, to editing the final images that is supremely satisfying to me. And it doesn't matter if that editing is in the form of chemicals or pixels - the allure comes in many layers and flavors; but I think it boils down to visualizing an image I think will best recreate and communicate to others what I imagined or what I felt as I originally viewed the scene. And when others can experience their own emotional reaction to an image I've created, I know I've won the game.

 

I've had a number is distinct expansion moments in my photographic growth. The first was when I developed my very first black and white print. Another was when I attended a workshop given by a photographer/teacher named Gus Kayafas, He was (and still is to my understanding) a technical wizard with a passion for the art of photography that was very infectious. He taught me about and how to use Ansel Adams' Zone System which opened a whole new vista of control and creativity for me. Another was that first time I fully visualized, planned and brought about the image I intended to get, or others when I learned some new technique. I spent what little spare dough I had for books, photo treks, magazines and the like to learn more and spur dreams of being a future National Geographic photographer.

 

Instead of developing a life, I developed a liking of dark rooms filled with the distinct smell of Dektol and fixer and the sounds of the Allman Brothers in the background. Such was my social life.

 
Sunbeams and Sweepers 1974
 
This was my first serious foray into the zone system taken with my Pentax, using Kodak Panatomic-X film, overexposed and underdeveloped to bring out the shadows.
 

For several years after that first entry into the field, I had a job in a studio/photo lab/camera shop owned by another infectious character named Tom Hubbard. There I became the black and white expert in the darkroom - I was the go-to guy. I shot everything from news photos for a little local weekly, weddings, product shots, events, architectural shots, you name it.

 

I got married, moved to California and had aims to make my mark in the photographic world. As it worked out, though, I went in another direction due to financial demands of raising a family along with a lack of persistence in making the career happen. So for a number of years, photography periodically left and reentered my life. At times my photography would dwindle to doing no more than getting snapshots of my kids, but now and again that heady, single-minded joy of creation would grab me and off I'd go. I kept my then trusty Canon and continued to shoot and feel the same thrill of visual possibilities when camping with my family in the wilds of California.

 

Then somewhere in the early 1990s, I began the New York Institute of Photography correspondence course which blasted open the doors for me again giving me tools and techniques and ways of viewing the world in ways I'd never imagined. Since then, I've continued to shoot, mostly for my own pleasure and need to sate my need to create, make presents for relatives, fill up the walls of our house and test my mettle.

 

I moved into the new world of digital and photoshop and I began to hear more and more, "you should sell your prints", "you should enter this or that contest", "do you have a website?" I soon began to agree with them. And what good is creating something if you never share it with others? Self satisfaction and pride of accomplishment only goes so far.

 

That brings me here. I continue to shoot, continue to study, continue to create photographs that I like, and I'm finding that others do, too. I hope you enjoy them and if you do, tell your friends, feel free to make a comment or two and make a purchase! I'd love to see my work on display.

 

Get in touch.