Zenfolio | Michael Stano | About


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922).


"Where words fail, [the photograph] speaks."

Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875) [with apologies for the alteration].


"Light is the language...."

Timothy Leary (1996).


A way of seeing....

While in Cub Scouts, which must have been in the mid-50s, I used plans in Boys’ Life to build a pin-hole camera. The camera “body” was a Folger’s one-pound coffee can. The “lens” was a nail hole poked through the can, and the “shutter” was a piece of electrical tape over the hole. The inside of the can was painted black, and there was a sheet film holder made of cardboard. I don’t remember if I actually took any photos with the Folger’s can, but I was obviously interested in photography at an early age.

My first real camera was a Kodak "Holiday Flash." It had a screw-on flash bulb holder, which had a plastic flap over the bulb to keep the glass fragments from spraying by-standers should the bulb explode. I still have that camera.

Close to my high school graduation, my mother gave me a 35mm Zeiss Icon from Smile-a-Minute Camera. On her budget, that purchase was a real stretch, but I must have somehow communicated that I was ready for a serious camera. I wish I still had the Zeiss, but it is long gone.

In about 1971, I enrolled in my first photography class at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse, where I was teaching, and I bought a Minolta srT101, which I pretty much wore out over the next 10 years.

After I joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1977, I took additional photography courses at Meridian Technology in Stillwater. I eventually had a darkroom at home, where I developed film and printed.

Work and school consumed more and more time, and, when the Minolta failed in the mid-80s, I was pretty much finished with photography until I bought my first digital camera, a 4 megapixel Fuji point-and-shoot, in 2002. With that camera, I took what is probably the best photo I will ever take. When that photo won a small-pond award, I was again hooked on photography.

The camera arsenal now consists of three Nikon 35mm film cameras (an F100, an F2, and an F3hp), two Bronica medium-format film cameras (an ETRS, an an ETRSi), three Nikon digital cameras (a D80 (which has been converted for infrared photography), a D300, and a D700), and a digital Ricoh GR. For the Nikons, I am fortunate to own a nice set of Nikkor zoom lenses (a 14-24mm f/2.8, a 24-70mm f/2.8, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 VRI), two Nikkor primes (a 35mm f/2.8 PC, and a 300mm f/4), and four Carl Zeiss primes (a Distagon 2.8 / 25mm ZF, a Distagon 2.0 /35mm, a Planar 1.4 / 50mm ZF, and a Makro Planar 2.0 / 100 mm ZF).

Although I no longer develop film, I scan negatives and slides in-house, and I do all my own printing. Prints are made using archival inks, and all mounting materials are acid-free, and of archival quality. With proper care, my prints should last a century.

My main photographic interest is architecture, which no-doubt stems from my early ambition to be an engineer. Rather than wide-angle views of buildings, I am drawn to semi-close ups of details. Whether the focus is a building or something else, I like images that are abstract, the best of which are, at first glance, unrecognizable for what they are (or, as my friend Dan MacDonald has suggested, a "shot that initially throws a quirk into the viewer's perception").

Photography is, for me, more than an art form—it is my "dharma door," an escape from stress, and a gateway to continued learning. That others may like what I do is a pleasant bonus.

Thanks for visiting my site!