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Portraits of America

Photography is all about light. Color photography is about light, but I’ve never developed the proper vocabulary to be articulate about it. I just feel it.

When I started as a professional photographer, at National Geographic, color was not mentioned on my résumé. That day in 1964, I was in Washington, D.C., office of Bob Gilka, the magazine’s director of photography, who was considering me for a possible internship. He asked, “How do you feel about color?” “Doesn’t bother me,” I answered. I still don’t consider my answer anything less than totally honest. How could it bother me? I’d never loaded a roll of color film into my camera. But as soon as I got home to Minneapolis, I did.

And I came to love color film fairly soon, and since then, although I enjoylooking at beautiful black-and-white prints, I’ve wanted to work only in color. I still have that first roll of color film.

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