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Ted Padova

Ive been a professional photographer on and off for almost 60 years. I first started working in photography in 1963 at the Army Aviation Test Office at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California. I shot on glass plates using the Fairchild Flight Analyzer, developed the plates, and made contact prints. It was crude but an interesting first introduction to photography.


A few years later, I joined the Peace Corps and spent several years in a Venezuelan fishing village and the Amazon jungle in Ecuador. It was early in my Peace Corps service that I acquired my first SLR and became thoroughly engrossed in photography.


After my tour in the Peace Corps, I went to the New York Institute of Photography in New York City when it was a resident school. After a short time in Manhattan, where I shot all over the city, I acquired a diploma in Commercial Photography and headed off to my home in California.


Throughout the time I was working on my baccalaureate degree and going to graduate school, I shot weddings that paid for my education. When I had time off from school, I worked in a small trailer I converted into a dark room, where I processed B&W film and made enlargements.


I began teaching secondary school after finishing my university degree and was given a class to teach in photography. For more than 30 years, Ive been involved in teaching photography and digital image editing. I owned a digital imaging and photo finishing company for more than 16 years. Thats where much of my work was spent on the back end of photography. 


Photography has never been a regular job for me, but its been a delight and a great love. I wouldnt want to spend all my time in a full-time job in photography, and Im quite certain that is the reason its still a first love for me. In years past, my heroes in the photography world were the great photographers of all time, such as Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz, and several others. But today, my heroes are the many young people I come across in teaching and some young modern-day professionals.


Ive been working with computers for more than 40 years. I had the luxury of learning applications slowly over time. When Photoshop 1.0 was introduced, I taught all the tools and menu commands and just about all that could be done in Photoshop in my one-day university classes at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. The same went for Adobe Illustrator all the way through version 3.2. Today, however, one could spend a week covering just color in Photoshop or Illustrator without getting into various tools and commands to handle other edits. 


The young people today who can jump into Photoshop 2022 or Elements 2022 and become knowledgeable and skilled in a short time are truly my heroes. Im simply amazed at how fast young people learn such a complicated set of applications so quickly. It took me more than 40 years to know a little about the applications I work with today. If I had to start learning now, I just might retire and go fishing.