When I was sixteen, my uncle, a photography enthusiast, put a camera in my hands. He told me to shoot a few rolls and we’d go develop them. This photo of my sister and cousin is from that first trip to the darkroom.
My interest in photography continued, and, in my last two years of college, I studied photography and writing. For my senior project, I wrote a series of essays and I photographed people.
After college, I needed a job. I loved photography, but was shy about sharing my work, didn’t have a darkroom and couldn’t see an available career path to take. Much to my surprise, I began teaching in the elementary school I attended as a child. I continued to take pictures. I took photos of my students and I gave them cameras to use. I arrived at family birthday parties with my camera in hand, and I filled my parents’ refrigerator with photos of their children and grandchildren. During this time, I met the man I would marry and I took photos everywhere we went, with us standing together in all those places. I still loved photography, but it wasn’t my focus.
That changed when my own little girl arrived.
A month before she was born, I bought my first camera that was not completely manual. It was a film camera. I had no interest in the current digital point and shoots that were painfully slow. My technologically savvy brother, Alex, had been putting digital SLR cameras in my hands whenever he came home, but the price tags were still too shocking for me to consider. I enjoyed my new camera and took rolls and rolls off to be developed.
Our second baby was born and I continued to snap away, and my brother continued to put those expensive digital SLR cameras in my hands.
Shortly before our third child was born, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon 40D. Unlike many third children, there are many more photos of our third child’s beginnings than the first two.
Apart from the thousands of photos I was taking of family, I started taking photos for friends of their kids, and I began to edit my photos in Lightroom. I wanted to figure out more about editing, but I was busy with three kids. I didn’t make the time to learn how to work with my photos to make them better.
In January of 2010, I started a 365 Project with my brother, Joe. We made a commitment to post a photo from every day of the year on Flickr. It was a decision I made, without thinking, after talking to Joe on the phone one morning. It was good I didn’t know what I was getting into. If I’d known, I would have said, “I don’t have time.” (No one does.)
I shared my work more than I ever had before, and I became more interested in many aspects of photography. I bought a flash and got much more familiar with photo editing. I carried my camera everywhere and I noticed different qualities of light.
After finishing my 365, I still wanted to share my photos. I also wanted to share some of what went into taking the photographs, editing them, and the thoughts that were behind them.
So here we are.
I am, like my uncle, a photography enthusiast. I can’t put a camera in your hands, but I hope that what I share here does what my uncle did for me: got me started.