I remember the first time I saw someone do something special. It was this kid in the first grade that drew a picture of a monster truck (Yes, I grew up in the rural south). I spent the next 45 minutes trying to draw monster trucks, G.I. Joe’s, army men, monsters, dogs, and horses. I didn’t have any talent for it, but I wished at the time that I did. In the years since, I have witnessed true talent in music and voice, dance, writing, sculpting, acting, and even interior design. I share none of those talents, which is all the more reason I thank God above for blessing me with photography. By no means am I a master of photography, but I love the art of it enough that I’m willing to be a student of it for the rest of my life.
When I first started shooting, my focus was on shooting beautiful things. Icicles dangling over a sidewalk, a dandelion in a patch of green grass, or maybe trees, their foliage in shades of yellow, red, and green. All beautiful things and worthy of being captured, savored, and shared. From there I grew an appreciation of contrasts, juxtapositions of color, shapes, textures, and even meanings. At that point things blossomed for me and I thought nothing of driving around the countryside looking for the hidden sides of things because I wanted to see them a different way, and I wanted to capture that difference, and make it my own.
At some point I began to see shooting images of people more gratifying than still shots, landscapes, wildlife, and forgotten pieces of other people’s lives. I don’t know what triggered that lightbulb, but I found myself taking pictures of people on the sly, and sometimes stopping people on the street to ask their permission to snap a quick shot or two. I discovered that a face has a thousand expressions, and that natural beauty had no real bearing on the appeal for me when it came to my passion, photography.
So here I am today, primarily doing portrait work and weddings. The best results (my opinion) in my general photography are usually found when I don’t have to mind the time so much and can join a family in the park or for jaunts downtown. The children are less aware of me as time goes by and it becomes easier to capture their natures. The mother, father, boyfriend, or girlfriend become a little less self conscious and maybe a little more trusting and their focus turns to each other and I become a part of the background, then magic seems to happen. They engage with each other and I get to capture that. In weddings it’s much easier because there is a timeline and many things to think about so it’s easier to be out of a subject’s mind. And I feel priveledged to be there, with a license to shoot to my heart’s content freezing moments in time as they unfold before me.
So why do I shoot? Because it’s a challenge. Because the subject shares something in every image. Because unless it’s captured, something truly beautiful might be forgotten and eventually be unappreciated. Because photography is my creative outlet and I would do it for free if given no other option.