This would be me ... Rich Sprague ... circa about 1960 ... setting hot metal type on a Linotype machine in the San Marino Tribune (California) print shop where our high school newspaper was produced.
I wore a heavy rubber apron for protection because every once in a while the machine would jam and squirt out hot, molten lead. Today, with my computers I don't need an apron, but I do protect myself from disaster with triple "back ups", on and off site.
I've been in the communications business since I was a junior in high school ... which means that in 2010 I celebrated 50 years of something ... it might even be craziness, who knows? And, on the 11th of June, 2010, I officially graduated from Marylhurst University in Oregon with my Bachelor's degree in communications.
Initially, I became interested in graphics when I took a photography class in the eighth grade. As I recall, the first camera I used was a Rollecord, then in high school it was a monstrous Speed Graphic press camera that must have weighed 10 pounds. My all-time favorite camera was a Nikon digital. Because of my photographic skills, I landed a position on the high school paper, the "Titan Shield", started writing articles and found a passion for the printing business at the print shop where the paper was printed.
Up to 2011, I'm 100% self-taught ... my career has included such skills as journalism, photography, letterpress, offset and digital printing, hot metal typesetting, strike-on typesetting, photo typesetting, digital design, web development, and many other things too numerous to list. I guess I've always worn a blue and white stripped collar, except for when I wear sweats or T-s.
I'm also a very capable computer technician, more in the connectivity and operation of Macintosh and Windows systems, than anything else. Over the years I have helped many printing and pre-press companies install systems to power their digital operations.
I've also owned and managed design, marketing and communication firms, I've been a top salesman, developed marketing plans, planned ad campaigns, produced tourism guides, owned a printing company and published a weekly newspaper ... you name it ... I may have done it.
In 1998 to about 2000, I was a user advocate for Adobe Acrobat when the software was just beginning to take hold as the defacto standard for the submission of files for printing. I spent hundreds of hours and helped thousands of people throughout the world learn how to use and adapt Acrobat to send files for printing when the program was little more than a way to create a simple low-resolution RGB file for electronic transmission or storage. If I had been paid even $15 an hour for the time I spent teaching, which I immensely enjoy, I'd have a tidy sum in the bank today. Oh, well.
Today, my passion for my work is as great as or even greater than it has been throughout the span of my career. I'm fascinated by the technology and the fact that I personally can do what I used to have a staff of people to handle. Having 50 years of experience doesn't hurt, either. And, thank goodness, I don't have the headaches of trying to be creative, and manage people and money all at the same time.
I have a beautiful studio with a several computers and high-end printers so that for my daily workflow I'm self-contained.