This shot is among the oldest in my portfolio.
I know the date because it was the year I started driving. I was 17 at the time. A friend and I would head to the more rural areas of north-central Long Island to photograph architecture.
For years, I thought this shot was an out-building at Old Westbury Gardens, but having looked at all the available images of the mansion and it’s grounds on the web, either this building was torn down (doubtful) or the shot was taken elsewhere. It’s a mystery…
In any event, it’s a great example of neoclassic architecture, probably dating to the 1870s.
Made with a Rollie Twin Lens Reflex camera (which I dearly wish I still had today) on
Plus-X B&W film (the only film I used in daylight) and developed in the basement dark-room built by my father and I when I was sixteen. Let me re-phrase, he built, I ‘go-fered.’
During my senior year at high school, we suffered an electrical fire in our home that gutted the interior. While the basement didn’t actually burn, the heat climbed to over 1500º, so what wasn’t destroyed by water damage, bubbled in the heat. This was one of a handful of images (both the print and neg) that was out at a show at the time so it survived.
My father, a real estate broker and appraiser by day, was an extremely talented oil painter. Sadly, most of his art was consumed in the fire. I was much more upset about my dad’s paintings than my photos. I knew I’d do a lot more work. He, on the other hand, lost his enthusiasm for painting. He did a little more artwork later in life, but not nearly as much as any of us would have liked.
About 10 years ago, I started on a project to scan — at very high rez — more than 40 years worth of negatives, so I could preserve them and print them digitally. I’m glad I did.