Humble Beginning

My first published news photo, of storm damage at Fort Sill north of Lawton, Oklahoma, May 17, 1982.
My first published news photo, of storm damage at Fort Sill north of Lawton, Oklahoma, May 17, 1982.

I was out yesterday shooting some storm damage photos – mostly trees and limbs blown down – when I was oddly reminded of doing the same exact thing on the very first day of work at a newspaper, on May 17, 1982. I was a brand new intern at the Lawton Constitution, my hometown newspaper. There had been two severe thunderstorms the night before, and the damage was, like yesterday, mostly trees and limbs. The photos I made then and the photos I made yesterday are strikingly familiar.

I started that summer with a Nikon FM with a motor drive, a 28mm Series E Nikon, a 50mm Nikkor, and 105mm Nikkor. It was a pretty nice bag for a college kid.

That summer was punctuated by the tantrum-esque suicide of my college room mate on May 12. Over the years I have gotten less and less sympathetic about it, until now I believe he was a self-important baby and a totally selfish dick. I have touched on this subject a time or two, and one day I will expound. In the mean time, let me just add that there are a lot of things that define winners and losers, and a lot of ways to live well and live poorly, but nothing is dumber than suicide, which of course leaves you nothing at all. I sometimes think about everything that he missed in life.

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  1. Storm Damage: This seems to be the defining image of Oklahoma in my mind. No matter what else happens in the state, there will always be storm damage.

    Suicide: While I can certainly sympathize with the feelings/emotions that lead one to contemplate ending one's life — because I've felt those feelings before — I can't understand the train of thought that actually makes it seem like the best idea (other than extreme cases like tortured prisoners of war, etc.)

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