Peter Kowalchuk

I have been working in the field of fine art photography on and off, though mostly on, for more than 35 years. If I had to put a time to it, I'd have to say my love of photography started when I took my first photography class at SUNY Plattsburgh. I was fortunate to have a great photography professor by the name of Bill Crosby. He was a photographer, but more an abstract artist working in oils...or was it acrylics. But despite his abstract painting, he was a great photography "teacher." I took so many photography classes, in fact, that when it came time for me to depart those hallowed halls, I had to "settle" for a Bachelor of Arts (not Science) in Biology. I also learned a good deal about photography ... and developed a love for large format ... working for a weekly newspaper in Potsdam, New York, where I made editorial images with a 4x5 Speed Graphic.

My first camera was a Minolta SRT101, then a couple of Olympus OM1 cameras. Always with either Kodak TriX or PlusX. Then I married and had two wonderful daughters. Not much time for my photography, but I did manage to do some, setting up an in-bathroom dark room.

Even though today I don't go out every day to make photographs, the absence of photography in my life left a hole in me. So I got back in with an 8x10 camera for which I had a 4x10 back made. My first real project was with a 4x5 while still in college. I borrowed the school's 4x5 and drove all over upstate New York looking for people who used their porches regularly. If I saw people on their porches more than three times, I'd ask if I could make their photograph. Photos from "On Porches" can be viewed in their own gallery.

After reading on, you'll see that I tend to work in project mode nearly all the time.

My first project with the 4x10/8x10 was of roadside lighting in the daytime. I called it "Waiting for Darkness." Since my "Waiting," I have worked on "Lone Trees," another 4x10 project, inspired by the wonderful lone trees that populate the high plains of Colorado, where I now live. I also am continuing work on my roadside memorials, "Not Forgotten," which was inspired by the absolutely beautiful places people die on the highways of the Rocky Mountain west. Sad, very sad, but beautiful.

I have a portfolio, "Self," which you can probably guess is photos of myself, what are now called "selfies." I prefer self portraits. No, I'm not at all a good looker, but, armed with a camera and nothing but boredom led to the start of this continuing work.

The town I grew up in, Brasher Falls in upstate New York, near the Canadian border, also became a project target, around 30 years ago, when I photographed the businesses in the small town and their proprietors. The owners are nearly all gone from us now, but the photos are a reminder to me of the gentler time and town in which I grew up...or failed to grow up.

After my 8x10, I moved to a 5x7. It was lighter, and allowed me to get more lenses. But, after a while, it just killed my hips packing it, the lenses, film and all the other equipment needed along with a tripod, so I traded it all in for digital.

I have missed large format, though, but most of my photography is now with a full-frame 35mm camera. I get my panoramic photos by stitching.

I have a real problem with people who tout the fact that their work is "without any digital manipulation" as if that makes what is sometimes, if not often, mediocre work better. Not me. My work is film and digital. And I love it. I hope you do, too!

These and more make up my photo history. I hope you will enjoy them.