As a senior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC during the 1977-78 school year, I had the opportunity to take a photography class under Byron Baldwin (a founder of The Light Factory museum and education center for photography). Under Mr. Baldwin, I developed a passion for photography, especially black & white. While attending N.C. State I took several independent study classes in photography in the School of Design while also working on the university newspaper – The Technician. I believe there is a treasure of great fine art photographs to be rediscovered from that period.
Two years later I transferred to Randolph Community College (RCC) in Asheboro, NC. The school was well known in the Southeast for its fine programs in Portraiture, Photojournalism and Commercial Photography. I received an AAS degree in the latter and did produce some good fine art work while enrolled in the program. Afterwards, I returned to N.C. State hoping to be formally accepted into the School of Design. A year later I was accepted; however, the goal of completing an undergraduate degree seemed very far away. I ended up leaving State in early 1984 and went to work as a photographer for Lowes Companies in North Wilkesboro.
When folks asked me what I did for a living, I told them I was a commercial photographer. “Oh really”, they would ask. I would jokingly go on to explain I photographed mostly 2x4s and toilet seats, and occasionally door knobs and lawnmowers. Creating photos for Lowes’s weekly newspaper insert was certainly not glamorous work. Two years later I moved to High Point, NC as a staff photographer at Norling Studios, a large facility with 15 to 20 large sets. Each set was capable of supporting a large room scene.
The city of High Point is known as the Furniture Capital of the World. Norling was one of many studios in the area that provided marketing photography for the furniture industry. After a couple of years at Norling, I would go on to freelance in the area for another 6 or so years. Ha, I met my future wife while on a freelance gig at Drexel Heritage furniture showrooms. During my years as a commercial photographer, I rarely picked up my personal camera to again pursue fine art photography. After putting in a full week at work, I suppose I didn’t want to pick up a camera on my personal time.
There was one important exception; in 1986 I bought a Commodore Amiga computer. It was way ahead of it’s time in terms of graphics, multi-tasking OS, animation and sound. This computer changed my life! I began to experiment with digital photography in 1987! I would capture photographs taken at NC State and RCC from a video camera mounted on a copy stand. The images were then imported into a paint program for manipulation. Though somewhat primitive compared to what we have today, for the time the ability to digitally manipulate images was impressive.
Around 1993, I started a multimedia business with a fellow photographer. For the next 7 years, we developed a thriving digital media production and technology services business. My creative interest evolved into video, animation, and digital audio. By the end of 1999 I had gotten out of my own business and went to work for Symetri Inc., a digital agency component of Trone Advertising. In 2002, I became a contract IT Project Manager. This continues to this day as my profession.
For Christmas 2010, I bought my wife a Nikon D3000 DSLR. It turned I would be the one using the camera the most. Slowly but surely, I began to become interested again in fine art photography. Occasionally, I would take time to embellish a photo in Photoshop Elements and share images with family and friends. When I finally purchased Adobe Lightroom 5.0 in early 2014, the program re-ignited my passion for fine art photography. The software seemed to reconnect me with my analog photography roots and notions of creative possibility. Next I upgraded to a full frame Nikon; now I’m hooked! Though I continue to make a living as a IT Project Manager and Consultant, I plan to hone my skills and get my work “out there”, mostly through participation in regional and national exhibit compositions. Let’s see where it goes! I hope you enjoy my work. I would love to hear your feedback and welcome any suggestions for improving the quality of my work.
C.S. Young Jr.