Much of my life has been spent searching. I have a creative soul, in need of an outlet, but all mediums I tried were found wanting. Until photography. I see the world in pictures and photography is how I can share my vision with the world. It started with landscapes. Beautiful mountain scapes with pristine water, my internal peace, preserved, abiding. I saw it and my camera captured it and it was simple.
Then came people. My camera took horrible pictures of people. Oh well, not really worth taking photos of anyway. I don’t see the point, so I didn’t pay it any mind.
Then came my little Story. Suddenly, I saw the allure of photographing people. But, I was still taking awful photos. Assuming the camera knew what to do and even, *gasp*, using the on camera flash. I chalked it up to “some people got it and some people don’t and I just don’t” and kept clicking away because I still wanted to capture those moments.
This persisted for a year. Then its time to get married. I start the search for our wedding photographer. So many talented individuals. And portrait photography has come a long way from the 80’s Olan Mills studio portraits that always came to mind. There is something I’m missing, I just know it. But I’m busy planning a wedding and working and taking care of a 1 year old so it just sits in the back of my mind.
And we get married. My best friend is there with her DSLR and my wedding photographer comes with all of her cameras and lenses. My bestie and I chat about our shared love of photography. How do we take great photos? Is it just the camera? My best friend takes photos of our wedding and on our honeymoon. They are so much better than what I accomplish with my advanced point and shoot camera. Must be the camera. Then, my wedding photos come. They’re incredible. Shot with same brand of dSLR as my best friend’s. No, its not the camera. What does the internet say?
Its *how* you use the camera? Huh…You don’t just point and click? So September 2012, I ventured into manual mode. I spent months pouring over every article I could on exposure, composition, metering, Kelvin and anything else I could get my hands on. And I practiced. My unsuspecting 1 year old and golden aspens were my victims. And it was clicking. My people portraits were a step above “meh” and I was figuring it out slowly but surely.
So, I marshaled my husband and my entire family to collaborate on a DSLR as my Christmas gift and I enrolled for the spring semester at the local Community College in their photography program. I learned my DSLR inside and out and kept practicing. Taking photos of anything and everything with little to no thought of why, just an impulse to click away.
Now, the time comes for some self examination. Its time for my final project in my first photography class and my assignment is to create a cohesive collection of photos. First step is to choose one photo that embodies what you want your collection to be. So, I poured over the months of photos I had taken while practicing and had several ideas that I quickly dismissed but I kept coming back to this one photo.
My little girl sitting in a big chair with a book and her sippy cup. It epitomized exactly who she was in that moment in life and was exactly what I wanted to remember. It was also quite unlike all of the other photos I haphazardly snapped off here and there.
So I dissected what it was that drew me in, what tugged at my heart, and set out to create a series. This was my beginning. Not the beginning of my photography journey, but the beginning of my self discovery. A new way of looking at the world. Appreciating the little things. The still moments. The everyday. The silly, the sweet, the beautifully mundane. It was the first step in the direction I wanted to take my art and was the lodestone that led me to where I am today.
My editing style was inconsistent and use of lighting poor, but it was clear, my creative soul had finally found its release. Isolating and capturing the unadulterated moments of childhood is exactly where my heart resides.