Welcome to our twenty-sixth Bergen County Camera Customer Spotlight. This monthly posting features a customer who’s made an impression on us. They might have grown in their understanding of photography, gained a mastery of the craft and / or have become a strong advocate of our way of doing business in the world of photography. During the next month you will see this customer’s images displayed on our digital signs in store, in our emails, blog posts and social media.
Bruce Brettschneider is our customer spotlight for the month of April. We hope you both enjoy and are inspired by this new addition to In Focus and look forward to your comments and suggestions. Below you will find a word from Bruce, followed by some of his images in the gallery below.
I never thought I would be making pictures. I am new to the craft. Only seriously creating purposeful images for three years now. I consider myself a beginner. It is no exaggeration that I spend many many hours each day studying photography, learning how to make images, editing, printing, and mat making. It seems like each day is a new challenge. My development mirrors that of an infant with growth, delays and milestones.
My photography is a way of sharing myself with the world while also becoming the subject of judgement and vulnerability. There is a joy in my picture taking. Photography to me is realizing that the world is a combination of my internal state relating with the external. I react from what I see from the world around me. If what I see resonates, I press the shutter button. A simple gesture of pressing the button; is made up of such complex reasons why. Perhaps we all do this in some form or another when we take up a hobby. An expression of oneself that brings joy and at the same time vulnerability.
After my wife Sharon and I retired in 2013 we sold our home in Connecticut and built a home on the coast of Maine. My daughter and son-in-law had already moved to Oradell, New Jersey and worked in New York City. My son, had earned his Master’s Degree in England, and had moved to Brussels Belgium to start his new career. By 2017, four years after I retired, having served thirty five years as a school district administrator, I asked my daughter if I could borrow her Nikon D-90. I had taken plenty of pictures in my earlier years with my Kodak Instamatic, and Canon Compact cameras, but I knew nothing about how to operate a DSLR camera. Neither, did I have the intention of making art with my pictures. So, I spoke with my son who is a wonderful photographer, attended courses, made lots of pictures, read everything I could about photography, and involved myself in photography groups. As Sharon and I often visit our daughter and son-in-law and now new grandchild in Oradell, it only seemed logical for me to visit Bergen County Camera one town over in Westwood.
I remember my first visit to BCC. I met Tom Gramegna, the President of BCC. He didn’t try to sell me anything. We just talked about photography and photographers. Tom’s passion for photography was incredible. The more he spoke, the more I wanted to learn. During my later visits I met Tom’s brother, Bob Gramegna, Cofounder of BCC. I already knew what camera I was going to purchase so Bob and I would talk about other things, our families and life in general. He was just a most caring person. Every time I visited my daughter and son-in-law, I would visit BCC. I especially enjoyed attending the Saturday morning focus sessions and evening seminars facilitated by Paul Carretta. During this Covid time, when I can, I still continue to listen to BCC’s Saturday morning Zoom focus sessions. The people I met at BCC were passionate about photography. There was a certain joy that they wanted to share with me. They were also simply caring, open and nice individuals and that made all the difference in the world to me. When I was ready to purchase my own camera and lenses, I knew it would be from Bergen County Camera.
I try very hard to make photographs with intention but sometimes making a photograph is more an unintentional act that makes me just want to first press the shutter button and think about the image later. Sometimes I will write poetry to go along with my picture to amplify what I tried to portray in the image. This is all part of my photography, my developmental photographic journey. My excursion, which many people have shared and offered me opportunities along the way including my friends at Bergen County Camera.