The Topanga Messenger Newspaper celebrated its 30-year anniversary in December of 2006 and commissioned me to take these portraits of residents who have lived in the canyon for at least 30 years. These images were featured in their anniversary issue and propelled me into a wonderful photographic adventure. Sometimes, while shooting, I could hardly contain myself because I was laughing so hard. Other times, I felt a sadness- recalling all the great people who have come and gone.
I strive to have a good idea of what I'm going to do before I get to a location and I took the time to talk to my subjects before each session. People and situations, however, are often different than imagined so I like to improvise and come up with new ideas. In the past, I was a hardcore purist with traditional film and had no trust in digital photography. I loved the smell of photographic chemicals and the excitement of watching photographs develop in the darkroom. Now, however, everything has changed; the digital age has liberated me from former anxieties such as the possibilities of a bad batch of film or a lab screw-up or a faulty camera. New hardware and software technologies have cleared the way for more creativity.
All of my Topanga subjects were delighted that they were chosen for the 30-year issue. It made the work go smoothly and we all had a lot of fun.
Keefer Flanner and Donna Ferro
Bill and Pearl Sloan
Gail McDonald Tune
Jean and Evandna Francis
Greg and Teresa Rose
Franceska Schifrin with Maya and Jasper
Victor and Jeanine Richards
Corky, The Creeker aka Clark Moss
Mimi and Henry Smith and daughter Wendy