In the photography department there is a student nicknamed the “Darkroom Nazi,” a takeoff from “Seinfeld’s” Soup Nazi.
“I’ve taken pictures all my life but never saw them as any good until recently,” said Joel Ferguson, Longview freshman.
Ferguson got the nickname due to his passion for film photography. He can frequently be found in the darkroom perfecting his photos or around town shooting rolls of film.
“I enjoy being able to capture things as they are,” Ferguson said, “and show people how I see them.”
At age 8, Ferguson began taking photos but never thought of it as anything more than taking his dad’s camera and using up all his film. When his mother would go to develop the rolls of film, she would laugh at the things Ferguson photographed.
“I like the concept of writing with light,” Ferguson said.
When it comes to processing film photography, it’s mainly based on the amount of light exposed to the negative. For Ferguson it’s become easy to determine the correct exposure.
Ferguson uses two different cameras when shooting his rolls of film. He uses a Minolta XGM and a Minolta X370 that belonged to his uncle. He is currently repairing a Minolta X7 that belonged to his father.
Ferguson decided he wanted to return to school about a week before the Spring Semester began and was looking for fun classes to take. He is an undecided major. After having dropped out about three years ago, Ferguson wanted his first semester back to be laid back and fun. A friend of his mentioned O. Rufus Lovett, photography instructor, to him and said that he was a fun teacher and that Ferguson should take one of his classes. With not much availability the week before the semester started Ferguson wasn’t sure if he would be able to get in the Photo 1 class.
“I got lucky to get in,” Ferguson said.
He has found a love and passion for photography and is considering majoring in it but is not sure.
“I always like to fiddle with something,” Ferguson said.
Besides photography, Ferguson also enjoys tinkering with things. His current project is fixing his aunt’s old cuckoo clock. He has also fixed a few other antique clocks that could possibly get him some trades with local antique shops in Kilgore.
“I enjoy creating things,” Ferguson said.
For him it’s more about fixing something for the fun of repairing it rather than possessing it once it’s fixed.
At age 20, Ferguson decided to move just north of Nashville in Tennessee, until returning in February 2013. While there he continued to find different projects to entertain himself. While living there, he learned skills such as blacksmithing, wood turning, carpentry, leather working and other trades.