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This is really going to date me. I got my lesson early about cameras, photography, mathematics and English.
I was an indifferent student. The one thing I loved was photography. I spent all of my spare time taking pictures, fixing cameras and building a darkroom. My step-sister gave me her Kodak Signet 35; I still have it. When I was 15, I got Time-Life's book on additions, and built a framed, wired darkroom. My step-father was opposed to art as a living and would not give any assistance, so my grandfather bought an enlarger for me - a Vivitar 66 with a Vivitar enlarging lens. I later bought a Nikon f/2.8 enlarging lens for it.
After much reading of Popular Photography, and envy of a classmate who had a Nikon F, I wanted a SLR. I decided on a Pentax Spotmatic, doing my own research that rivaled Consumer Reports. My parents would not help me - "$200 for a camera?!" - so I got a paper route, and saved for a year.
My mother then took me to a studio owned by Survivors.