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My earliest remembrances of photographic images were images my dad made in Italy when he was stationed there during World War II. He photographed his journey from the beginning to the end of his time in the Army and at the time I looked at these images it looked to me like he did this daily. I remember regularly looking at these images in his albums and sometime during this process wondering how it all worked and how wonderful it was to see things far away as dad saw them.

My first photographs were taken with dad’s Polaroid camera; this had to be around 1960. These were little 2x3 one of a kind snapshots. Yes, the camera was the one that was black and white and was messy! You had to know how to count while you waited for the image to process and hope that you didn’t get any of the caustic processing agent on you or your cloths.

Sometime after I had used all of the Polaroid supplies I moved on to film. Yes, like everyone at the time there was an old Kodak Camera and a Processing Kit with a contact frame in the attic. So with a red light bulb, old chemicals and little trays for processing; I began this long journey that would lead to today’s Digital World.

With lots of fogged film and muddy images I began to understand how it all worked! Well at least I thought I did. As high school came along I started saving lunch money and returning pop bottles for cash (that was a thing then) in order to save enough money to purchase a Honeywell Pentax H1a 35mm camera! Yes a real camera!

Well this led to the purchase of film, paper, chemicals and finally a used enlarger. This in turn caused late nights for processing and later nights for printing. To feed all of this I took photographs of anything that involved pay, weddings, copies and yes returning pop bottles and not eating lunch! As my appetite for images grew, I needed a way to buy more film, paper and chemicals. This would mean trips to any discount houses and bulk film supplies one could find.

Next came looking at images Life, Time, Look, National Geographic, Popular Photography, and so on. Books I would get as many books with images as I could. I began to take on a style didn’t know what yet but something was beginning. The biggest influences on my photographic vision a have been Edward Weston and the whole f64 movement. W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

But more than that, s local photographer,  Jack Gates, was a major influence on my technical side as he was for all of us at in the 60’s and 70’s. While hanging out daily at  Photographit, the store he owned in the late 60’s and picking his brain for any knowledge that he could give,  I met up with a local photographer, William Keith McManus, who just returned to town from a hitch in the military. Keith has become a life long photographic colleague and family friend. We spent many days photographing Western Pennsylvania.

Sometime during these years I begin to want to do something with all of this, just what I didn’t know. So I decided I would go to photography school but where? I asked around and was pointed to Rochester Institute of Technology, so off I went,  north to Rochester, New York, my wife Bobby and  my Hasselblad.

Cold winters and many images later back to Uniontown to raise a family with 2 sons Geoffrey and Kyle. So what you see here is the result of 40 years of trying to be a photographer. I hope you can go away from this with just a little touch of what I see and please enjoy the images.

Daniel R Salitrik, Photographer

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