Howdy from Hot Springs, Arkansas


TPF Noob!
Mar 22, 2009
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Hot Springs, Arkansas
Can others edit my Photos
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Greetings to all!

I’m Mark Corder – from the beautiful resort city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I was born on April 5th of 1963 and it remains my hometown…

I’ve been into Art all my life and Photography since I was about 12, when I bought my first 35mm SLR with my Summer-job money. (A used Minolta from a camera store … I forget the exact model after all these years.) I basically taught myself from reading the encyclopedia and a few books from the library along with some of the photography magazines from the time. (No Internet back then, kids!) My love of it never waned though, and by the time I was 18 I was working freelance around town, until the owner of a local studio saw me working a party one night and offered me a job…

They were an old, established studio, and I spent the next seven-and-a-half years working for them - learning just about everything they could teach me about traditional portrait, wedding, event, and commercial photography. (Traditional Winona School style, I’d call it…) That was what I had wanted to do of course – be a Professional Photographer – and it was fine-and-dandy … but when the studio finally closed, I was ready to do something else for a while. I was getting seriously burnt-out on the Three B’s (Brides, Babies and Banquets). It wasn’t the “Art” that I really wanted to make, but after shooting the 3-Bs all day long, I didn’t feel much like shooting anything else when the for-pay work was done!

While working at the studio I became interested in computers, although that was in the days of Ataris and Commodore 64s. (The early days of DOS … Pre-Windows.) Well, God Help Me, but I got in on the ground-floor of that mess and it ate my brain. (That’s right – I’m an old school nerd!) I’ve done – and still do – everything from build them from scratch to write code for them, and for the last 12 years or so I’ve specialized in developing and customizing web applications (things like these Forums, for example!) I’ve even hosted a local Q&A radio show about computers and the Internet.

So did I forget about photography? Oh Hell No! … but for the most part I played with my computers and code and watched from the sidelines as it evolved into the digital medium you see today. I remember the original arguments: “Digital will never equal film…”, but I was also familiar enough with the quantum-leap way digital technology had of advancing, and I hedged my bets on that. I’ve owned a few cheesy digital cameras over the years (and a few of them actually took pretty good close-ups), but when you used to work with Hasselblads … well, you get the picture. (Or fail to … as the pun intends.)

But just because I got a little away from photography doesn’t mean that I missed Photoshop! I’ve been pushing-pixels on screen since the days when I did it on an IBM 8088XT machine with a 640x480 monochrome monitor. (I was smart – I had an easy-on-the-eyes amber one!)

A style of photography I was always taken with (no pun this time) was Photo-Art, as I recall my 60s-era encyclopedia labeling it. The examples they showed were photographs, but they looked like paintings. Now THAT was what I always wanted to do! I won’t bore you or embarrass myself with tales of all the crazy darkroom tricks I tried over the years (or what I’ve smeared on filters), so let me just say Thank God for Photoshop! (I use the term Photoshop a little loosely … I’ve actually used countless graphics programs over the years.)

Cheesy P&S cams are fine if all you’re going to do with the image is feed it to Photoshop and apply a bunch of filters to it in order to make it look like blobs of paint. (And with some cams, you don’t have far to go!) But still, I missed having a good, versatile SLR-style camera to work with in the digital-age, because I still wanted to take good photos, too! (I don’t paint’em all…)

So last year I got tired of waiting-and-watching the field and bought myself a Nikon D80 (with the 18-135 kit lens – also added a battery grip). It’s all I could afford at the time, but the truth is that at this moment I couldn’t be happier! I once again have a descent camera that I have full control over; I can do things in my digital-darkroom that I could not have dreamed of in my old chemical ones; and I can turn them into “paintings” of any style or description at the drop of a hat. (Which I do to my almost endless delight and fascination.) And when asked if I’m working professionally, my reply has become “No… I’m enjoying it these days instead!”

If it’s some kind of cosmic accident that three major elements of my life (Art, Photography & Computers) have more or less collided with each other and opened whole new avenues for both artists and photographers alike, then it’s a happy accident, and I’m a happy guy! With my camera, my computers, and my shop-toys, I feel like everything has come together full-circle … it’s my Zen!

(As long as the power stays on … or it’s back to those swampy darkrooms and my sloppy watercolors!)

Sign me,
Happy Mark the Digital Hack in Hot Springs, Ark
- and happy to be here!

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