It all began here

Joseph Squillante at Bronx River with boat on a string

Where else than the beginnings…

As a young boy growing up in the Bronx, my father Frank Squillante would bring me to one of the lakes along the Bronx River near Crestwood in Westchester County to sail my little boat on a string. Of course he would bring his camera along, and one day he made this photograph of me.

Dad was an avid photographer with a couple of cameras and a darkroom set. I would take his two cameras from the dining room china closet just to peer into the viewfinders and press the shutters to hear that click of the simple shutters, sounding oh so different.

These are my earliest recollections of making contact with a river and photography.

Then came the magnifying glass, the intensely bright spark of light to ignite a dry leaf or piece of newspaper… that amazing thrill of light so hot it set me afire… Light, lens, optics, glass, paper, fire and off I went on a life’s journey.

All these earliest influences lay dormant until after college when I began my professional photography career purchasing my first camera, a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm, f/1.4 lens; and it is still in my arsenal and working.

Dad’s influence went unnoticed until these past several years. At my Hudson River exhibit opening at Old Forge Art Center in the Adirondacks, he spoke of bringing me to the river. What? I could not imagine what he was talking about? He never brought me to the Hudson? Of course not, he was speaking of our Sunday afternoon outings together along the Bronx River.

I was bit by the shutter bug, but ever so subtly.