David Knight

Dave Curl & Gary Cialdella

After leaving the army and returning to college I was fortunate to enroll into a class taught by the gentleman in the middle, Dave Curl. He was my mentor at Western Michigan University in many ways. I became his TA for many of his classes which is where my love of teaching began. At the same time I met Gary Cialdella, on the right. He was the director of photography at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and asked me if I would like to teach some photography classes, which I did for 8 years.

Two incredible people who believed in me.

Thank you!

But the story began a little earlier........

US Army, August 72 - 74

You just never know what lies ahead of you. My plan was to attend Lake Michigan College for two years then transfer to Western Michigan University. Well, it didn't happen. Uncle Sam decided that the US Army needed me - and I was drafted in August of 1972. After eight fun-filled weeks at Ft Knox I received orders to go to Ft Ritchie in Maryland. When you're drafted you get placed where they need you. I was fortunate enough to be needed at one of the best little army posts in the United States. I was assigned to the Photo Lab to be a photographer. Again, luck was on my side. While the boss of the Photo Lab was a sergeant named Curtis, the real brains was a guy named Dave Humbert. Dave was an E-5 and had just returned from Vietnam before being assigned to Ft Ritchie. Sometimes the stars align and they certainly did for me. Dave was a very skilled photographer and had the best personality. We became fast-friends and still are today. And I will not leave out Marcus Wilson who was also assigned to the lab. He was just the right guy to hang with and do crazy things with. Two people that were there for me. Whatever word you choose; blessed, lucky, fortunate, I'm grateful for those people who made a difference.

Left: Summer of 1973 at the Photo Lab at Ft Ritchie.

Above: Marcus, myself & Dave sitting on the front steps of the Photo Lab at Ft Ritchie, MD. This was the Spring of '74 and I was three months away from being discharged. We pushed the limits now and then.

I'm located in beautiful Berrien County, MI, which is in the southwest corner of Michigan overlooking Lake Michigan. From here it's only a 90 minute drive to Chicago and then to any part of the world a plane will take me.

In 1970 I picked up a camera and that was all it took. I've had a lot of fun with photography and have met so many interesting people along the way. Some of those people were in front of the camera and some behind the camera....some were famous and some not. Some in my backyard or across the USA or in Europe. It's been wonderful and still is wonderful. As they say, if you do what you like you never work a day in your life.

In 2004, I was the project director for a photo documentary of St Joseph & Benton Harbor, Michigan, entitled 2 Cities 48 Hours. Twenty-six photographers photographed the people and places in the two cites for 48 hours. A book was published later of selected images.

I started teaching photography in the 1970s while attending WMU and at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. I now teach photography classes and workshops located in Michigan.

Warren Woods State Park, Three Oaks, MI

Fujifilm Equipment

When I first started shooting I purchased a Pentax Spotmatic and loved that camera. But a little later on I switched over to Nikon in my 35mm equipment and then to the digital Nikons. 3 of my photography buddies had switched over to Fujifilm X cameras and I looked at their images and thought - Yes, I think I need to do the same. I couldn't be happier with the change. The images the Fuji cameras make are incredible and allow me to go further in my vision. I really like the way they feel and respond while shooting. And the images are beyond belief. Now, if I could only get paid for my endorsement. 

2 Cities 48 Hours

As the project director I put the call out to my professional photographer buddies to see if they might be interested in shooting for this project. There was only one that said he couldn’t do it - he later regretted not being involved. 13 professional photographers from around the state of Michigan said they would be love to work on a photo project such as this. I then put out the word to amateur photographers to join in. Again, the magic number was 13.

2 Cities 48 Hours
A Photo Essay Documentary
Benton Harbor & St. Joseph, MI
August 27 & 28, 2004

During two August days in 2004, 26 photographers shot more than 8,000 images of Southwest Michigan’s historic Twin Cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.

Using Format