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Bob Soltys

Photographer capturing the joy of living on the street, in diners, Paris, and at weddings on home-rolled Tri-X black and white film with a Leica M6TTL and 35mm 1.4 ASPH lens. Biologist; former Navy officer. Licensed instrument-rated pilot. Beekeeper. Lucky's dad. Slide rule afficionado. Russophile. Legendary rascal 

My interest in photography was sparked by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s black and white images in "The Eye of Eisenstaedt." Not long after I read that book, my aunts Margaret, Julia and Evelyn gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera for Christmas that I used during family trips and to photograph Bobby Kennedy when he came through my home town while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Later, as a high school sophomore, my 35mm camera came along when I joined seniors at my high school who walked out to protest a teachers’ strike that would have cut short their school year and prevented them from graduating. A weekly newspaper bought my pictures, launching a 40-year career capturing people and events on film. Through associations with fellow news photographers, I began shooting weddings.

After years of shooting Kodachrome during trips to Europe and Asia, and at sporting events including the World Series, on a lark I took a roll of Tri-X on a trip to Wisconsin in February 2005 to photograph great grey owls. The black and white images from that trip rekindled my love of black and white photography, leading me to return to working exclusively with black and white film.

A bout with back and neck pain after an injury while serving as a Navy officer had already prompted me to downsize from countless lenses on several SLR’s to just two Leica M6TTL rangefinders and three lenses. Almost all of my pictures, however, are made with a 35mm lens. Sticking to one lens and Tri-X film has simplified my photographic life and allows me to quickly and unobtrusively capture magic moments on the street, in diners and cafes, and at weddings.

Additional inspiration has come from Robert Frank, David Hume Kennerly, Fred Maroon, Bill Allard, Elliott Erwitt, and Kent Reno. Thanks to John Rehner at John Rehner Fine Art and Framing in Lakewood for expertly scanning and framing my gelatin silver prints.

Current projects include capturing the art of living – all the while keeping an eye out for the humor that is there if you take the time to find it (or recognize it when you run across it), and fine tuning "A Lucky Life," my Blurb book documenting the life of Lucky, the Jack Russell Terrier who never tires of patiently waiting while his dad “just finishes this roll.”

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  • Out making pictures, Paris, Wyoming, the Midwest