Contributor: Ron DeKett

I don’t remember when I first became interested in photography. It may have come from an unfocused appreciation of the wonderful photographs in “Life” magazine that occasionally found its way into our home when I was a boy.  My first camera was a tiny spy camera I bought in 1970 while stationed in Okinawa with the 3rd Marine Division. I took hundreds of photographs of the island but lost them while in transit to another posting. Although I dabbled in photography through college – Delta College and the University of Michigan – it wasn’t until I became a reporter in Holland, Michigan, that the urge to take photographs began to take root. The photojournalists there seemed to have more fun taking and printing photos than the reporters did reporting and writing stories. Their photos had immediate emotional and informative impact. People always looked at photographs. They didn’t always read stories. I gradually began shooting photos, sometimes for the newspapers, most of the time for myself. I am self-taught and started serious photography with a Pentax K1000, later a Nikon SLR film camera, then a Nikon D-80 that I dropped into the South Tyger River while portaging my kayak, and now a Nikon D-300S. While I admire the works of many great photographers, in my view no one can match W. Eugene Smith, an unsurpassed photojournalist, and Ansel Adams, a genius behind the camera and in the darkroom. Many of my photographs are of a single object – the husk of a milk pod, an ice-covered horse or a daisy framed by a wrought iron fence. I often focus on the “one” because the act of being distinguishes one object from another. The object is unique in its aloneness even as it is harmonious with its environment. I take photographs so that others will notice and possibly appreciate what is often overlooked – small pieces of the world that give it beauty and continuity.