High school dropout at grade 11, retail work, railway freight yard, radio station engineer juggling talk-show calls on tape machines, playing ads on cassettes, spinning discs for announcers, switching mics from various studio sources- very hectic and stressful, painting houses, numerous agricultural jobs from farm labourer to running a cash crop and feed lot farm, tree planting and many more forgettable jobs in various fields. In 1968 I quit the radio station to travel via motorcycle to Mexico and British Honduras (now Belize). Upon return attended college as an adult student taking communication arts. I saw TV production as my vocation. Quickly disillusioned with television, I turned to photography, for which I seemed to have an unknown talent. I was consumed and hooked for life on capturing images on film.
Photography was new to me, I hadn’t owned a camera and, sadly, had not taken any photos of my four-month trip through Central America. I don’t even have a postcard from that era.
Graduated from college, I began freelance work in London. Married, with one child and another on the way, we moved to the country near Aylmer, Ontario. Since being a kid, having both lived in cities and in a small town, visiting my grandparents’ farm and then later working on farms, I wanted to get out of the city.
Built a local freelance photography business and set up a darkroom. Corporate work for Imperial Tobacco opened a lot of doors until they closed their doors in 2007. I also got part-time work on farms, learning how to handle tractors and implements.
Managed a cash crop farm with a feedlot for absentee farm owner until his death. Moved again to a house outside of Aylmer and set up a studio. I purchased Maxwell Camera shop in Aylmer. We built a studio and did portraiture, industrial and commercial photography, plus retail sales of photo equipment and custom framing. I soon got fed up of studio portraiture and replaced the studio with a colour film processing and printing lab while continuing the commercial work. We sold the business in 2001.
I have lived on a farm outside of Aylmer for many years now. I have a wonderful daughter and son who have both been successful. Sadly, they live far away.
In 2002 I took an epic motorcycle journey through three provinces and nineteen states, visiting my son in Vancouver and daughter in L.A. Explored the southwestern states. The following year I rode to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Gaspe. I was well equipped with cameras and lenses, having learned that lesson in Central America.
I still ride motorcycles but have retired from free-lance photography. I work at home, custom framing, restoring photos, scanning films and writing.
Unless otherwise credited, all photographs are © David Ritchie and may not be used without my permission.
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