About - Yours Truly
You have stumbled across the web site of RJ Wilner. I am the proverbial 'JAG' with a camera who loves creating images. Currently, my photographic interests lie almost exclusively in the landscape genre. I would like to do more architecture work, but thus far, just don't seem to get 'rountuit'.
My photographic journey started quite some time ago. I was 19, maybe 20, when I purchased my first 35mm SLR...a Minolta SRT-101. That was 1969-70, and pretty much an out of the blue purchase. Sadly, I don't recall what inspired me to make that purchase, but I can recall sitting on my bed in Richmond, IN unpacking it, and being amazed at the intricacy and mechanically fine workings of the device before me. Heck, I didn't even have a clue what my subject matter would be at that point. But I also recall having the sense of a gear clicking into place and the (at least sub-conscious) knowledge that I was embarking on something that would be with me the rest of my life in some way, shape, or form. That was quite a change for someone who had been more than a little prone to changing interests almost as often as my socks to that point.
For the next 7-8 yr, my 'learning' consisted of shooting color slides (almost exclusively landscapes) and scouring the monthly periodicals available at the time. Popular Photography was a big deal in those days, but it leaned pretty heavily towards the equipt geek side of photography. And when the much more polished and more artsy, American Photographer, came along, my perspective on what 'good photography' really looked like changed dramatically. And with that came a much broader exposure to Adams & Weston and a budding interest in B&W photography.
Eventually, I found my way to some B&W evening photography classes at one of the local community colleges (St. Louis Community College @ Florissant Valley) primarily because it gave me access to some nice developing equipt. But the teacher of those classes was terrific, and really 'into' the art side of photography, and really opened my eyes to the artistic possibilities of photography in general, but B&W in particular. Though my interests leaned fairly strongly towards the Adams/Weston/White style of B&W landscapes, I also developed and appreciation for other styles from photographers like Jerry Uelsmann and Henri Cartier-Bresson. And then there was Diane Arbus.....whose work just stunned me every time I looked at it.
All that eventually led me to set up my own home darkroom and spend just about every spare penny I had on film, chemicals, & paper. That continued until the price of silver went through the roof in the 1981-82(?) time frame, and the price of film and paper followed suit. And when I finally accepted I could no longer afford to continue to purchase those necessary hardgoods in the quanitities I had been to that point, it all but killed my interest in photography. Well, not so much 'photography' in the macro sense, but more my own 'artistic' pursuit of same. From that point until some in the late 90's, I rarely shot anything but vacations and some family events on occasion. I did always retain a subscription to at least one monthly periodical, so there was always a sliver of a flame burning, but pretty dimly for that extended period.
Eventually, the itch need scratching again, and I purchased a new film camera some time in the late 90's. But I can't say that I really did much more than 'dabble' at it. It wasn't until early 2002, when I purchased my first digicam (an Olympus C3030z...a whopping 2mp 'Point & Shoot' device), that I really started pursuing photography in earnest again. Later that year, I spent some vacay time on a photo excursion to White Sands Nat'l Monument just to see if I had retained much of what I'd previously learned and whether or not I still had any sort of 'eye'. And was pleased enough with a couple shots from that trip that I've launched myself completely into the digital age. I LOVED the time I spent shooting/developing film, and learned a heckuva lot about photography during that time. But I have absolutely no desire to go back. Give me a digital darkroom with a pc and a good photo editor, and I can get lost in the process. A lot of photographers seem not to like the computer time doing 'post processing'. But for me, it's every bit as enjoyable as getting out to shoot.
Hope you enjoy the site!
About - The Site
You may notice I'm a little OCD'ish about chronology. All the images posted in each 'gallery' are in chronological order.....most recent at the top. There's a couple reasons for that with the primary one being that it simply is easier for me to track as I include the date shot as part of the file name when uploading from the camera to the pc. That's the convenience aspect. But more importantly is a longer term goal. Though it's being built initially as a 'gallery' site to display what I feel is my best work, eventually I would like to expand to having the site be something of an autobiography of my photographic journey.