"A Photographic Impression Of The World"
Steve Cummings
I am finding this country to be increasingly soulless, impersonal, and robotic. In my years, I have seen more changes than I ever could have dreamed up, in every area of American life. The country reached its zenith, measured by SAT scores, in 1962 when I graduated high school and we discussed the meaning of success for three days. There was a sense of purpose, ambition, and idealism back then, not to make money but to benefit others and achieve excellence. Money, texting, and video games are ubiquitous now.

It all crumbled with the Vietnam lies, Nixon's lies, Reagan's slick destruction of fairness, and on into the corruption and wars of the past 20 years. This is an evil country in many ways, but also so utterly sweet and romantic. So incredibly green and lush with vast western expanses and thousands of miles of sea coast.

Buildings are now glassy. I refuse to shoot them. I shoot wood and brick. I prefer rusted to shiny new steel.I am in Middle Geezerhood, as my analyst tells me, a diehard socialist with deeply patriotic preservationist leanings. The romance is what I seek, especially in minor league ballparks.

So I am photographing what is on the way out. Better travel off the interstates before these photos become archival. There is life between the coasts. Some of the nicest people I have ever met are Christian Republicans but I never open my mouth (which is good practice for me). Traveling to exotic locations such as Mongolia and Louisiana is something you must do before the multinationals take them. Shoot what you like. You can always delete!

I had a Kodak instamatic through 1974 when my late great friend, Guy Morrison, coaxed me into buying a Minolta down in San Jose. I was anxious around all the knobs and buttons, but he was very patient with me since he knew my weakness. So from 1974-2005, I wound up taking a total of 18,448 color slides all around the world: Bay Area, Alaska, family, Morocco, Cuba, Italy, and inside my Seattle house. It took me a year to scan them with the Nikon Cool Scanner which kept breaking down. Little by little, the contents of 125 slide carousels were dumped into a giant cardboard box that must have weighed 25 pounds at the end. So now I had 31 years worth of stuff to play with, but not before ....

Another wonderfully patient friend, Steve Sholl, urged me into digital photography which I had roundly rejected as a diehard traditionalist. So when I came back from Italy with 37 rolls, he asked me what the film and processing cost. I embarrassedly told him about $750. This pragmatic man promptly replied that I could buy a good Nikon D-70 for that plus a zoom lens. Saving money piqued my interest, and I never had to worry about running out of film again.

Digital freed me up enormously to take multiple images, delete the bad ones in stages, and enhance the good ones. As a psychologist in private practice, I did have the freedom and funds to take photo road trips. I began collecting hundreds of great photo books, a new addiction, which gave me ideas for all kinds of shots. Since 2006, I have shot an additional 55,000 images which rest on my desktop.

I take an American photo road trip at least three times a year and some major international journeys from time to time. I got enough positive strokes to enable me to self publish the UBIQUITIES volumes you are about to purchase for keepsakes. Sometimes, I sit back and compliment myself for the photos; other times, they seem prosaic. But I did publish the books, have them on consignment at a local bookstore, and now want wider exposure, hence the UBIQUITIES.US website developed by Gary Smith. Enjoy!
AUTHOR - 1988