Industrial Era - Part 1

In the fall of 1979 I went to work for an engineering and construction company as a mechanical drafter. It was a great job and provided me lots of opportunity for growth and during my time there I wore all types of hats: drafter, designer, estimator, purchaser, and eventually project manager of engineering and construction projects. I also wrote the company's computerized payroll software, a topic I cover elsewhere. I really enjoy drafting, after all, I was making a living by drawing with a pencil and the systems I was drawing were interesting, everything from aircraft fueling systems, lube oil blending plants, boiler systems, truck loading racks, above- and below-ground storage tanks, and everything associated with them.

While I did take pictures at many of our job sites, the work really had nothing to do with photography which I pursued in my non-working hours with as much motivation as ever. In the meantime, as I had been doing for years, I was still taking college classes, about 12 credits per semester, to both advance my education as well as to continue collecting my stipend on the GI Bill. Initialially, I poked around at an engineering degree but found that not only was it impossible to achieve while working full time during the day, it just didn't motivate me as drafting had done. So, I drifted around a bit, taking various classes, a bit of political science, a bit of nutrition, and so on. Finally, I sought career counseling through the university and, based on the results of the various tests they administered which confirmed my own suspicions, I decided that my long term goal would be to teach drafting at the high school level.

With a solid goal in place, I changed my major to Industrial Arts and started working my way toward that degree. Since I already had a 2-year degree in drafting and was doing it for a living, I really didn't want to take more drafting classes so I declared photography as my area of concentration. I had some really great instructors in that area and, since I was a non-traditional student taking evening classes, most of the instructors were adjuncts, many from the Fine Arts department. This gave me an interesting perspective considering that the Indistrial Arts department emphasized technique and commercial and industrial careers while the Fine Arts brought in the concept of what the photograph was attempting to communicate.

Let's look as some of the photos I shot on my industrial jobs:

Not all of my output during those years focused on industrial subjects, far from it. I'll look at that other work on the next page.

Click to goto to the next page: The Industrial Era - Part 2

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Updated January 2021.