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Palace of Fine Arts ~ San Francisco ~ California
I received my first "real" camera when was I was around 9 or 10 years old. It was a Brownie FunSaver.
Before that we used to buy cardboard cameras which you sent back to Kodak for development and a new
cardboard camera replacement would be sent by return mail along with your photos. The 2 week wait time
The cost of developing photos in those days was a luxury few could afford. Especially if you over shot a
subject as I tended to do, just to be sure I got the image I wanted. Remember in those days you wouldn't
know until the photos came back if they were good or not and by that time it was often too late.
I have always been fascinated by photography and when I was 12 years old my father installed a darkroom
off the garage at our home in Tarzana, CA. I learned to develop black and white as well as colour photos.
The darkroom became a local hangout for the neighbourhood kids and I began developing photos for them
Soon after graduation from high school, I got a job at Universal Studios in the photography concession.
We used Poloroid cameras and that was a godsend to be able to see your photos instantly!
As the years went by I continued to photograph my travels around the globe, but discovered when I
returned home all I had in the end was boxes full of pictures or slides mouldering away in a drawer
That's when I switched to water colour. At least when I got home from a trip, I had a lovely painting
to frame as a memento of my travels.
When my daughter was born I became an avid photographer again. It was difficult to take a bad photo of
Daisy. My husband gave me an Olympus camera and picked up the tab for developing the photos so I spent
several years documenting her childhood and our family life together. The photos were carefully collected
in beautiful hand bound photo albums.
Every year in December we produced a calendar to gift those who had offered us some sort of kindness over
the past year. Those photo calendars became cherished possessions among those who received them. We stopped
the calendars when Daisy was 17.
Then came cell phones, and I could shoot anything I wanted to as many times as I felt I needed to. Even
though I still shoot with my old Olympus, I prefer my iPhone 6+. The photos are sharp, the colours true and
like the old Hasselblads of bygone eras, I can shoot several photos in seconds, then cull out the ones I
You can follow me on instagram at sharmagnelstj
Sharmagne Leland-St. John, 11 time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a Native American poet, concert performer,
lyricist, artist, film maker, and store owner. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the literary and cultural
arts journal Quill and Parchment.com. Sharmagne spends time between her home in the Hollywood Hills,
in California, her fly fishing lodge on the Stillaguamish River in the Pacific Northwest and a casita in
Taos, N.M. She is the founder of fogdog poetry in Arlington, WA and tours the United States, Canada, and
England, as a performance poet.
She is widely anthologised and her poetry and short stories appear as well in many on-line literary journals.
She has published 4 books of poetry Unsung Songs (2003), Silver Tears and Time (2005), Contingencies (2008),
La Kalima (2010), and co-authored a book on film production design. Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood
Artist (Greenwood/Praeger 2006). Sharmagne is editor of Cradle Songs: An Anthology of Poems on Motherhood (2012,)
winner of the 2013 International Book Award Honouring Excellence in Mainstream and Independent Publishing as
well as one of four finalists for the NIEA.