If you haven’t already figured this out from my Photo-A-Day posts, I love photography. It is one of the things in life that I actually admit to being at least semi good at. It makes me happy.
It’s actually kind of funny that I like photography and taking photographs because when I was younger I hated them. I was that obnoxious kid who covered her face or crawled under the table when my mom tried to take a picture of me. Yes, that’s right, I did say crawled under the table. Who does that?
Anyway though, in high school all of that changed. I ended up dating a black and white photography class my sophomore year and loved it. I loved that I had a hand in every single aspect of the photography process – the shooting, developing, enlarging, fixing, and framing – I got to do it all. I think one of the reasons it was so great for me was because I had the opportunity to use my aunt’s old Canon SLR that she got in the ’70s from my grandparents. She had passed away a few years before that, when I was 12. Since then, whenever Grandma gives me something of my aunt’s, it makes me feel connected to her.
That year I also bought my first digital camera. It was a Canon camera with a one inch screen. This was right when digital cameras were becoming mainstream, so it cost just about everything I had in my bank account. It took forever to take pictures, but I took it around with me everywhere my friends and I went. I have hundreds of pictures from that year.
Over the past 10 years I’ve come a long way from just using a point and shoot digital camera. I still have my aunt’s old Manual SLR, but I have it in its case and hardly ever take it out. In college I wanted to take photo classes so I could continue with black and white film photography, but my university’s photo classes were too impacted. I don’t even know where I could go now to develop film and print photos.
I am currently on my second Digital SLR (Canon – same as all the other cameras I’ve ever owned in my life), and I love it. I have had the opportunity to mess around with my camera, doing photo shoots of some of my best friends. I have gone out and taken pictures of the plants in my backyard, messed around with a macro lens, and love figuring out composition and lighting. This past summer I even had the opportunity to take a photography class with my mom and step dad in New Mexico. It was in that class that I really became one with my camera.
Since then I haven’t had the opportunity to take too many photos, but recently I was asked by a friend to take some pictures of her for an article she was interviewed for (more on this later). When I talked to the photo editor, he was very enthusiastic about my photographs; he even offered to pay me! It is very exciting to know that my photos will be used in a magazine. I am really looking forward to doing more photo shoots in the near future (if I could ever find the time – the one photo I take every day is about as much time as I have for photography right now).
Yesterday, as I was compiling photos for my portfolio, I was going through pictures that I had archived on my external hard drive and I found the ones from my months of studying abroad in Spain. It was amazing to compare the pictures that I took then, to the pictures that I took now. My style has really evolved. It’s obvious that, back then, I didn’t know how to use the settings on my camera to their full capabilities.
Although I have come along way since then and I am a lot more confident in my abilities as a photographer, I still only qualify myself as a hobbyist. I have so many talented photographer friends, whose work blows mine out of the water, that it is hard to compare myself to them. I wish I could be as good as them, but for now, I’m just figuring things out on my own.
I don’t mind self teaching – sometimes I even think that’s the best way to learn how to do something. I’m that nerd who reads the manuals of every piece of electronic equipment I purchase. In doing this, I’ve discovered things about my cameras that I never would have figured out. In a way, it’s thrilling.
So yes, I want to take my photography to the next level, but will it happen right away? Probably not. I do, however, feel like things are taking a turn for the better. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised by something in my professional life/photographer future.
Cross your fingers for me.