“Out Beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense”
This is where I want to take you with my photographs.
Paul E Mongillo
I first moved beyond the snapshot phase of photography when I was 19. I found myself in a signal unit of the Connecticut Army National Guard and was told I would be a photographer. The unit had a beautiful darkroom and I was trained in the fine art of “Stateside” military black and white photography: 8x10 glossies of posed generals, antennas, soldiers who needed hair cuts (I was often one), various military maneuvers and developing negatives and making prints of officer’s nude girlfriends. All photography was initially done with a 4x5 press camera. It wasn’t long before I discovered the artistic side of photography and began shooting everything from rock bands to homeless people. I gave some thought to becoming a professional photographer, but decided a career studying fish in the great outdoors was for me.
I moved to Logan, Utah in 1971 to attend graduate school in Fisheries Science. Photography and thoughts of purchasing my own large format camera soon faded with my studies and new career. Photography became slides for work, but I took great pride in producing beautiful images of fish, lakes and streams. My absence from photography as an art form lasted for 27 years! My girlfriend placed one of her Nikons in my hand one day in 1998 and the rest is history. In less than six months I had built a 4x5 camera and during the winter of 1999/2000, I completed a darkroom in my home.
I "graduated from work" on December 31, 2003, after being a fish biologist of one form or another for 30 years. I now shoot for the pure joy of it. This is a gift. If I had gone into photography professionally all those years ago I probably wouldn’t be as passionate as I currently am. After all, I no longer fish with the same excitement. I don’t stick to any one photographic subject. I shoot what excites me at the moment and, have images of people, landscapes and various manmade objects in my portfolio. I do try to convey to others what moved me before releasing the shutter. On the other hand, what moves me sometimes occurs through post processing and is not always the same as my initial pre-visualization.