After I stalled as long as I could in
, I finally ran out of money and had to move back home and find a job. I had managed to get an associates degree in photography, and eventually ended up landing a job at a local commercial lab. Its name was Kibby lab. It was a small place that worked exclusively with commercial clients and ad agencies. They did a lot of large format printing and finishing, but what they really did best was dye transfer printing. Dye transfer was an extremely exacting and precise process that was popular because it tolerated a lot of manipulation and allowed for retouching. For more information you can read about it here: Dye Transfer Process. It could also, with the help of hand cut rubylith masks, be used to create elaborate composites. Lansing
I also learned a wealth of information about color correction, building composite images, and the art of cutting out one image to drop into another. What I didn’t realize was that I was participating in the end of an era. Digital photography, personal computers, and photo editing software were all just around the corner. I was down in the trenches and didn’t notice that the photographic world was changing. What I did realize was that I really didn’t want to smell like a pickle for the rest of my life (or work crazy long hours either for that matter). I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I was pretty sure I would need a bachelor’s degree to do it.
After I’d been working in the lab for about 2 ½ years, I quit and went back to school at
. Unfortunately, the real and practical world of commercial photography had no place in the art world. Craftsmanship, technique, consistency, and quality were given a back seat to concepts and vision and far less tangible things. When I asked an advisor about my employment options after graduation, he looked at me like I’d pooped on his desk and informed me that a degree was not for getting a job but to explore and fulfill my artistic impulse. I knew that I really had no business in art school, but played the game as well as I could and earned my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography in about two years. Wayne State University
During my first year, I ended up getting married to the guy I’d met way back before I went to school in Lansing, and at the time of my graduation I was five months pregnant with my first daughter. All the skills I’d learned both in the lab and in college were about to take a back seat to a much more daunting task. Luckily, they stuck around just waiting for the day that Photoshop and I were destined to meet…