I’ve been reading a lot of self help type books lately, OK I can’t lie, I’m always reading those kind of books. I love getting the advice of others, some is good and some is so so, but all is worth hearing. Sometimes it sticks, like sap on my car hood. I can’t get rid of it no matter what, and that’s when I know it’s worth acknowledging. The recent advice that stuck was to be invisible. Not literally, like the invisible man, but in my business. I guess I need to show everyone everything. My first reaction puts a sour taste in my mouth. It’s that voice in my head again. No not the crazy one, the one I call head trash that says, “Why would anyone want to hear anything about your life?” I stomp on that voice and push on, I guess that’s why I’m here writing this. To prove to myself and my head trash that I can feel the fear and do it anyway. So I’m starting at the beginning. My journey into becoming an open book, invisible.
I get asked all the time how long I’ve been taking pictures, and the answer varies depending on my mood. Sometimes it’s since high school, or college, or since I started my business. But most recently I’ve been saying forever, because well, it has been forever, my forever anyway. I remember being on vacation with my family when I was young. Not sure how young, but I want to say 8ish. I wanted to take pictures of everything and anything. I guess I bugged my parents enough to get my own camera. It was blue and took 110 film. And cheap, I mean the camera. It was brave for them to buy me a camera now that I think about it because they had to buy film, and then pay to process the film. Dang it was kinda expensive. Maybe they thought it was another one of my quick loves. You know the ones that fade with the season. Yup, I’m one of those people. But photography stuck.
I wish I still had that little blue camera and maybe I do tucked away in the drawers of my childhood room.
It looked something like this only ocean blue.
I took hundreds of rolls of film with that little beauty. In fact I wouldn’t go on vacation without it. I remember packing my little Royals bag with this and that, but always my camera. It went on every family vacation with us for years. Then I used it in 6th grade to take pictures for a photo contest. That’s when things started to change for me. It’s wasn’t just about the memories anymore. Every day on my way home from school I would stop at the pond by my house where 2 swans lived. They would come over to the dock because they knew I had saved them part of my pbj sandwich. I must have taken a dozen rolls of film trying to get the perfect shot. Most of them were exactly the same. But one of those pictures was THE SHOT. I titled it “the perfect family” even though I was pretty sure they were the same sex. But with birds, eh who knows. That’s when I realized I was in love with photography, and maybe a little nerdy.
I went on to take many more pictures in high school. I had two photography teachers. Mr. Zinger was my first and kinda make me feel bad about my work. In the end I think it pushed me to get better, but at the time it was hard to swallow the criticism. He was always telling me my pics were to gray. I guess that’s why I like lots of contrast now. Later I had Mrs. Gaverth. She was awesome! She helped build my ego right back up. In high school I shot with my dad’s old camera. I mostly shot with TMAX 400. I learned how to process the film and develop the pictures. I learned that making pictures is like magic when the plain white paper hits the fixer. I also learned I loved the smell of fixer on my fingers. It never goes away, so it’s a good thing I liked it.
Then in college I did a mentorship class with the photography teacher because I took all the photog classes. He was the teacher that encouraged me to go to art school. I was waaaayyy too in love with Jon to leave William Woods, but I’ll never forget his confident words. In college I learned I didn’t like studio work, or using tripods, they were both stifling, or so I thought. But I started to identify my style….close. I mean I didn’t know that then, but I do now. I didn’t go to school for photography, but it was alwasys there. And who knows maybe I would have ended up in the same place.
I was still shooting film back then, and I shot with a Nikon F5. Digital was just getting introduced, and I remember Mr. Elliott let me use his digital camera my senior year. Man that thing was slow and I think only 4 mega pixels.
Once I was out of college I focused on my career at a teacher, but the desire to take pictures was always there. My dad continued to quietly support my passion. So as soon as I could I built a studio in my house. That was 6 years ago.
I guess the rest is yet to come. Every day I want to grow, learn and get better. I don’t have a desire to be “the best” or famous. Right now I just want to reach my goals one at a time.
In writing this I realize just how in love with photography I’ve always been.
Because I feel like I should give my current camera some love here’s a pic of my big baby.