Photography has always been apart of my life. My mom and grandma were always taking pictures at family events or just during everyday life. When I was really little, say about two years old, I loved looking at photo albums and never liked to give them up. (There is evidence of this in our home videos.) My parents had a Polaroid camera that I used to take pictures of my family, friends, and toys.
Later I got my own camera, it looked like a toy, but it was real. And yes, it had film. I am old enough to live in the age of film cameras and VHS tapes. It was the same with that camera as it was with the Polaroid. I took pictures of my family all the time, to the point where they were visibly annoyed or just tired. But I didn’t care. I took pictures of my toys and dolls, of things I made. Basically, if it existed I took a picture of it.
As I got older I moved on from taking pictures of inanimate objects around the house and moved outside. I started taking pictures of nature. I remember for school we took a trip to Devil’s Lake and my mom got me a disposable camera to take with. I filled that camera up before we were even halfway through the hike. I was in desperate need of a digital camera before I even knew it existed. My family took a trip through the South Dakota and that time I think I had two disposable cameras. Still not enough for me, but at least I had a bit more film. (And I was better at rationing out my pictures.)
Cut to when digital cameras came out. I got a simple point and shoot Nikon (funny because I now shoot solely with Canon.) I bought it with my own money and I was so happy. I continued taking pictures of plants. I took way too many pictures of my dogs. (I still do.)
I took it with me to school events, friend hangouts, and family outings. I loved having the freedom of almost unlimited pictures. I say almost because I had a pretty small memory card and was still limited to the number of pictures I took, but it was way more than a roll of film. Plus, I could see the pictures I took right away! No more printing pictures that didn’t turn out. (Or with a finger in them. I was kinda good at that.)
When my parents got a fancier camera than I did, a simple Canon DSLR, I started borrowing that. They had a zoom lens that went to 300mm, which gave me the freedom to do anything. I took it out in nature and started photographing animals that were around our house. We lived in a small neighborhood in the country, so all my pictures consisted of butterflies, geese, birds, the occasional bunny, and one time I got some cranes. I loved going out and photographing everything in nature. Still do.
Now that I was also older, I was doing school activities like show choir and dance (well, I had been dancing since I was 5, but it was more advanced now) and decided to start photographing those as well. I would borrow my parents’ camera and the zoom lens and photograph dance recitals and show choir performances. And I loved it.
Finally, I got my own Canon DSLR. It was a Canon Rebel and I loved it. I started taking more serious dance and show choir photos. I still went out into nature and photographed everything. And I started dipping my toe into portraits. I would take my sister out into the backyard for some fun sessions. I started getting into more candid photography of the neighbors and family. I even took senior portraits for a couple friends.
Then came the end of school, the time where you’re supposed to decide what you want to do with your life, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I was a kid I always said I wanted to be an artist. At the time I thought that meant being a painter. Then one of my friends said that I should be a photographer. She loved my pictures so much and thought I was amazing. So I went with it. I know, me deciding to pursue a career in photography was not at all glamorous or inspiring. But, as I look back on it now I think that it is kind of obvious that photography is something I have always loved to do and I’m glad I listened to my friend.
So that’s my story so far. That’s how my photography journey has gotten me here. I’ve read quite a few stories of how photographers just one day picked up a camera and started taking pictures or how they bought a cheap camera and discovered they loved photography. I like my story. Throughout my life, I have virtually always had a camera in my hands and I can honestly say that this was a recent revelation, even if it was pretty obvious. It’s become such a big part of who I am that I don’t know who I would be without it.
I can’t wait to see where my photography story ends up next.