Friday, October 23, 2009


As some of you may or may not know, I'm a photographer. I'm not a pro and I never will be. But inside of me has been this long sitting love affair with photos and what a photo can convey. I actually can pinpoint the exact moment when I realized I was a photographer. It was October of 2006 and I was intent on taking pictures of my family's trip to Yellowstone that year. I just started taking pictures of things that seemed important and I haven't stopped since.

After saving for and purchasing my own digital camera, I was hooked. Juno (my point and shoot) and I were nigh inseparable and I quickly became the girl who always had her camera. Juno and I spent 2 years shooting easily over 5000 pictures. Juno has since been retired and put on the hall of fame shelf.

For the first two years I explored what kind of photographer I was. I remember being fascinated by pictures of sports stars in triumph or in sadness. One of my favorite pictures to this day is a picture I took of a girl on my sister's swim team right after she looked at her time on the scoreboard and came to the realization that she was the 11th fastest swimmer in the state in breaststroke. At the time I thought it meant I was supposed to be a sports photographer. But as I evolved I realized those were the first stirrings of trying to catch the essence of humanity on film.

I always had been attracted to people as my subject manner, but in a quiet non-posed way. A simple kiss on a cheek, a pile of girls painting their toenails, or an athlete celebrating at a personal triumph (or loss). I like taking pictures of simple things that everyone can relate to. It's hard to do because 1) you pretty much always have to have you camera nearby and 2) you have to be sneaky.

Most people instantly either tense up or ham up when you pull out a camera. I myself am a ham/tenser. I do both. That is why I prefer to be on the other side of the camera for pictures. But if you are correctly sneaky (as I am trying to learn to do with a larger camera) you can catch beautiful moments of humanity. It makes me grateful to be able to see the world in this way. Some photographers only see pain or anguish. While others choose to only photograph perfectly poised models in man made light. I choose to let humanity shine through my photos.

Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate other photography styles for what they are, amazing art that I could never create in my wildest dreams. I could look at photos all day everyday if I could. One might go as far as saying that I would like to see every photograph ever taken. You know, obviously striking out anything that is pornographic.

I actually now dream in photo shoots. It's a magical process of how I create a shoot in my head. Something catches itself in the web of my brain and I cultivate it for a day or so and then I sleep on it. Generally the whole thing comes together in a dream and then I spill the whole thing to Rachel who is really good at putting it in words (something I'm terrible at). Seriously that is where my motivation comes from most of the time. The cool thing about looking at pictures all the time is I often have a reference point to make an initial example of and then to run with it in a somewhat parallel direction. It's fun!

For instance, I work up one morning with my hair all kinds of crazy and my eyeliner from the night before smeared with like 20 blankets on my bed so it looked like a cave and the next night I had a dream about what I wanted it to be and this morning I verbalized it to Rachel and voila! I have a shoot in the works.

It should be fun to just work one on one with Rachel again, we haven't done that in a while where it's just me and her. The last few shoots have been punctuated with other people. It will also be fun to finally shoot in a more artistic style with Reid (my new camera!) I have yet to shoot a single "artsy" thing with him yet!

But what I think is the most important thing about photography, more important than my style, more important that my models, or the subject matter, and even the finished product it who I become when I pick up a camera. When that camera is in my hands, I feel like a great historian for those small simple moments that are so easily forgotten. By capturing a moment like my neice and nephew sitting on the lap of my younger sister I prove that all three of them existed in a space of time together and that they all obviously love each other. Things happen and there will be a time that all three of them don't exist in the same sphere. By clicking my camera for that split second I conquer the fear of a fading memory.

I'll finish up this soul-searching blog with two of my favorite quotes about photography that adequately explain why I love it so much.

"You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it."-Unknown
"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." Ansel Adams

I'm never going to be a perfectionist when it comes to my photos, because life isn't perfect. Life is a mess.
In my opinion though, that's what makes it fun!