Those are two questions I ask myself every day. How did I get here? Where am I going?
The answer to both of those questions is not abundantly clear. And I am okay with that. That’s how I roll. I don’t have a bucket list or a 5-year plan, which means I will probably never work for a corporation. And I’m okay with that too. I like to look at life through a wide angle lens, to leave room for the unexpected…
Man plans and God laughs. And then He rips your five-year plan into tiny pieces and throws them in the air like confetti. ~ Tina Anderson
I like to live organically, according to the whims of the universe, ready to zig or zag when (not if) life throws a curve ball. Five year plans don’t leave much room for zigging.
But. My aversion to plans and spreadsheets is also probably why my photography journey has been one with with a lot of long lay overs.
Unlike many photographers, no one in my family had a camera or gave me one growing up. In fact the handful of family snapshots that I have are terrible – out of focus or heads missing. But God made me to be a visual artist. I am constantly composing in my mind, either stories or photos, and I can’t turn that off.
I have always been taken with the human form, fearfully and wonderfully made, and so I studied visual art with a focus on figurative painting in college and graduated summa cum laude. I bring that up only because no one EVER asks and it was a lot of darn work. [Tip: Not an ideal degree if you want to actually earn a living.] Landscapes are lovely , but for me, there is nothing more fascinating than the human face or figure — 4.6 billion people on the planet and no two alike, and I want to photograph them all! I love to photograph all sorts of things, but people and faces are what I love most.
My first foray into photography was in the mid-80s. I was given a Canon EOS Rebel and it was such a great camera that I never had to learn photography. I set it on green and took zillions of beautiful photos of people, places and things. The internet wasn’t really a thing back then, so the only way to learn was to buy a book or take a class. I learn best experientally (that is to say, the hard way) and all those rolls of film got really expensive.
In 1994, life threw me a series of curve balls and my world went spinning off its axis and I didn’t really take pictures again until 2004, after my kiddo was born. The sun was rising on the digital age around that time and so I bought a little point and shoot digital camera to capture the magic and wonder that was my child. Sadly, most of those shots are of the back of his head as he is running away because the shutter delay was so bad. So many missed shots, it made me cry big fat salty tears of frustration. I knew I had to do something so that when my kid was an adult, he wouldn’t have just a handful of terrible blurry photos of his childhood, like I do.
And that was when I ponied up for my first DSLR, a Nikon D80 — which I still have and love. I flinched at the price when I bought it but it has been a priceless investment. It is a super workhorse of a camera and I have since given it to my son to learn on and upgraded my gear. So here I am, all these years later, with a decent camera and some nice glass, and insatiable desire to learn to make better images.
Where am I going from here? I don’t really know. I do know that every sunrise that God decides to bless me with, I will get up and take pictures of the people and places and things around me and try to learn how to do that better.