I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 2nd of 3 siblings and raised by immigrant parents. My father worked on the rails for the entire time in this country developing a love for hockey and Canadian culture. My mother was the main caregiver who worked odd jobs to help support and raise us. My parents were modest people with a very strong moral and upbringing. They instilled ideals that would shape my life and have made me the man I am today. We lived in a semi-detached two story home in downtown Toronto. My grandparents lived just a little north of us and by bicycle it would take me around 10 minutes to get there. I used to go to my grandparents as much as I could. I had spent a lot of time in my grandfather’s garage and tinker with his stuff. That garage was also my education. It’s where I learned how to hold a hammer amongst other handyman traits. More importantly, that garage would also give me another education and one that I would not have expected in such a place. It was summer 1983 and I was in my grandfather’s garage tinkering away. I was going mad as I was trying to locate something. After looking and looking, I still did not find what I was looking for……… or did I? You see, I came across this old cloth wrapped with twine. I had never seen this before and found it odd as I spent a lot of time in this garage. So of course I unravelled the twine rope and found a plastic bag wrapped around itself held in place with red elastics. I was so intrigued as to what I was discovering! The object finally emerged and I was stunned at what I had discovered. I had uncovered the most beautiful treasure my little ten year old fingers could find. For you see, in that vinyl case with the word “Konica” on it was a Konica C35 rangefinder and it made my eyes glaze over for what seemed like an eternity! I must have spent over one hour just holding it and being in awe of it. Little did I know my grandfather was near me for about 10 minutes of that goo-goo gaga moment just smiling and taking in the joy I was experiencing. When I did acknowledge my grandfather eye to eye, he continued to smile and said to me “do you like it Mark?” I was speechless of course as I thought I was in trouble. My grandfather walked over, crouched down and said to me “go make some magic.” He gave me a kiss on my forehead, stood up, smiled at me and went to work on something in the garage! I was amazed. My grandfather was giving this to me! I did not understand why then, but I did just as he told me! Of course, as time went on, I did find out the story of that little camera, but I will leave that for a blog post at a later date.
To this day, I still have that C35 and many other cameras. Since that day in 1983, I have been in love with Photography and have made it a way of life. The camera was my toy growing up and my grandfather and parents supported my passion throughout my growing years. It is this love and passion for the art of photography that drives me even to this day to create and capture special moments. Lots of things have changed in photography but the principles of taking great photos is still the same and there is no better way to create magic!