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Harry John Kerker

I never set out to be a photographer. I really wanted to be an advertising art director. My first boss and agency creative director Carl Fowler handed me his Nikon F one day and said, “as an art director you’ll be working with some very good photographers, so you better start learning how to use a camera”. I remember what a beautiful piece of machinery his camera was and that it felt like a cinder block in my hand. Every photographer I hired from then on in, was the best I could find for the budget I had to work with and I soaked up every ounce of photographic knowledge they were willing to offer.

Photo Right: My friend and first boss Carl Fowler on the left, the man who introduced me to photography. Photo taken early 1970’s, Raytheon photo shoot on the Mississippi river.

I bought my own Nikon and started shooting for myself in the early 1970s. I’d jump in my VW bug on weekends and take trips throughout New England with my Nikon and an old 4”X5” Graphlex given to me by my father-in-law who was a photographer for the Boston Globe. I brought a film changing bag, 12 sheets of 4”X5”, a roll of 36 Tri-x and hit the road.I didn’t think much about what I was shooting at the time and it wasn’t until 50 years later that I actually appreciated what I shot which you can now see in my “Vintage” gallery.

Photo Left: New Market New Hampshire mid-1970s. Small town auditorium with custodian observing me taking the photo and wondering why I wanted to.

With the 1980s came kids. I sold my Nikon and displayed my Graphlex on a shelf as an antique. I purchased an inexpensive plastic point-and-shoot with a motor drive and for the next thirty years shot snapshots of my family and kids. In the early 2000s, when the kids went off to college, I purchased a DSLR and started shooting for myself again.   In the last fifteen years I became more serious about my work and started showing in galleries, most recently in Mexico. What I’m most proud of is donating a large portion of my work to San Miguel De Allende’s public library to fund educational programs for children, including photography.

Photo Right: Ali Zerriffi President and Debra Broussard art curator of Biblioteca Pública de San Miguel de Allende, accept a donation of 150 prints from Harry Kerker to raise money for children's educational programs.

I’ve now carried my camera for almost fifty years. I never wanted to be a professional, since professionals shoot other people’s pictures. I’ve learned from some of the greats of photography including the great Sebastião Salgado, whom I hope just little of his genius has rubbed off on me.I consider myself very fortunate that my camera has always been a joy to carry. I hope that it continues to be and shows in my pictures.

Photo right: My office at Y&R in the 1980s with my assistant Russ Davis. Photo taken by photojournalist Sebastião Salgado

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