It took a lot of thinking for me to figure out how and why I got started for this post. Photography has been a part of my life for so long, it’s almost like asking “how did you get started with the whole teeth-brushing thing?” But the thing is, I can distinctly remember arguements in my house growing up, over photographs. My mom and my grandma would argue over who should have the pictures of my brother when he was a toddler. Or who’s hiding the pictures from when I was born. Big fights too, not little quibbles. Big, loud, door-slamming, angry fights over photographs. And when I was 13 Kandy, the dog that was a puppy when I was a baby died, guess what I did? I went through the house, quietly collecting every photo of Kandy we had and hid them under my bed. So I grew up with the idea that photos where treasures to be kept, horded, guarded with your life.
Clearly, when I had the chance to take an elective in high school, I took photography – every quarter, every elective. Sadly. I don’t have any of my photos from those classes, but I remember asking the boy I had a crush on if he’d come into the studio so I could take pictures of him. He said yes (yay!) and brought his girlfriend to the shoot (boo).
Next, NYU art school. Again, I took photo classes (go figure!)- first black and white, then moved on to color. This is the photo that got me started thinking about photography as a profession rather than something I did because I wanted to hold on.
I was a freshman at NYU, always walking around NYC with big eyes taking it all in. Something about finding this pacifier on the sidewalk made me very sad. So I picked it up, and took it back to the dorm. I realized I didn’t want to keep this pacifier— another “thing” in my already crammed dorm room, but at the same time I wanted to keep it. I did the only logical thing… I took it back outside and took a picture of it. I wasn’t really thinking about composition or light. But the reaction of my classmates and instructors to this photo made me think a lot about why and how this photo came to be. Then photography became a serious endeavor, and I shot, and I shot…
Artsy things like this at first, but then found my real love when I started taking pictures of people.
Better than being on the fencing team, was taking pictures of practices and matches.
And I had a little foray into pinhole photography. The fun bit about this is that my pinhole camera was made from an empty Ben & Jerry’s pint. So I took pictures of an ice cream truck, an ice cream shop, and the Crunch gym to tie it up.
One thing I miss about film photography is the black frame edges you’d get, which proved that you didn’t crop your photos. It was like a challenge thing for me. I learned to compose my photos in the camera, so anyone who looked could see that I didn’t crop. I needed to be good enough to compose on the fly. Now, with digital, I still don’t crop. That’s just my thing.
Stay tuned for part 2 of how I got started, when I’ll show what I did when I started working in the Color Darkroom…