That thing that makes my heart pound…that makes my voice hit that pitch only my puppy can understand…that makes my words rush out like a waterfall as my hands punctuate the air.
That thing that fills my heart with a lightness…that makes me so nervous that my stomach hurts…that bares my soul to the world.
You might be thinking…she just now found photography? Didn’t she already know she loved this?
Yes, I’ve known this for awhile, but the journey towards where I am at now started long ago, with a couple key moments that infused my heart with a passion for photography…and one of those moments happened just this past week.
Someone recently asked me how long I’ve been doing photography. My answer was the truth, the standard response.
“I’ve always loved photography, but I bought my professional camera a couple of years ago. I’ve just played around, having fun as a hobbyist, until this past October. That’s when I did my first real photoshoot.”
But, the more I thought about it, the more I feel like the answer goes beyond an actual timeframe. I’ve been interested in photography pretty much forever. Before the digital age took over, I was always that girl who brought like 4 disposable cameras on every school trip or family vacation. I have 2 plastic totes sitting in my closet at my parents house FULL of photos in labeled envelopes. “Washington, D.C. 1999” or “Friends-9th grade”…each envelope contains memories, memories I cherished so much I put them onto film.
In high school, I got REALLY into scrapbooking. Like, obsessively so. Yeah, I was that cool. But coolness was irrelevant, because I loved scarpbooking like I have loved few things in life. I kept up with it through my freshman year of college (resulting in about 7 complete scrapbooks, all of which I would run back into a burning building to save), and then with everything going digital, I just stopped printing so many pictures. Sure, I always had a tackboard full of the past year’s shenanigans with friends, but the scrapbooking was replaced with countless folders full of pictures stored on my computer…so many that I finally had to get an external hard drive just to store them all!
On spring break during my freshman year at UF, I had one of those moments, one of those split seconds that you know must define your life in some way. It was small, and unnoticed by anyone but me. I was in Wellington, FL, in my friend Molly’s backyard (a group of us house-hopped to our various hometowns across FL that week). It was dusk, and we had gone on a walk to a playground, where we did a little mini-photoshoot just for fun. Nothing fancy, just girls being silly on the slide or climbing trees. On our way back to the house, I noticed that the sky, every inch of it, was covered in rippling clouds. I paused, amazed at what I was seeing, and pointed my camera at the phenomenon. Click. In that moment, photography invaded my soul. I looked at the LCD screen, so tiny back then, and knew magic had happened. Not because I had fancy equipment, and not because I was all that talented…but because I had captured a moment, and it was beautiful.
My friend Jamie calls it “the photo that started it.” Boy, she couldn’t be more right! I was hooked. Throughout college, I used my little point and shoot until I couldn’t take it anymore…I wanted the “real deal.” I used my graduation money to buy my trusty Canon Rebel XT, which I’m using to this day. I use it to capture moments that are too perfect to forget, ones that are mine, and now ones that are other’s.
Even knowing these things about myself, knowing the way simple photography impacted my life for years, I still feel like I just found it. Because now, more than ever, I feel like I know what style gets me giddy and what photos really move me. After Natashya and Meghan’s shoot last weekend, I had another one of those “woah” moments. As I sat in the living room going through the photos from the shoot, I was about to jump out of my skin with excitement. The photos were ME.
I found it.