HOW I GOT STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY

This blog is about chronicling mine and Dani's journey into the creative life and hopefully away from trading time for money as well as being a place to give encouragement to others to do the same... I've always known that I don't want to spend my life working for anyone else but it took me awhile to know what avenue would start to draw my attention away from an office job. Today I want to share more about my background with photography and how I got into that specific creative field.

It all started when I was about twelve-years-old. I had my Dad's film camera and one day when we had some family friends over, I took their youngest child and my youngest sister and I did my first ever photo shoot with them. They were maybe seven-years-old at the time and completely loved the attention and I loved having willing subjects (thanks Matt and Jenna)! I set them up in front of a tall wardrobe in my room, placed a blue silk robe around the corners of the drawers for a backdrop and started taking pictures! That shoot was a lot of fun for me and I still remember it vividly but it wasn't my "AHA!" moment. I hadn't found my calling. I wasn't set for life. It was just something that was fun and then I moved on.

I've often found myself questioning my decision to pursue photography because it wasn't something I ever felt was deeply a part of me. I love hearing stories from people who say they found their passion at three-years-old or had a moment in which they just knew that this thing they had discovered was what they were meant to do forever. Passion never really described my relationship with taking photos and because of that I felt left out of the artist community and like I was an imposter. 

Maybe not even a year after that initial photo shoot, a family friend gave me his film camera to use. This was also not my "AHA!" moment but I did began taking pictures of pretty much everything and everyone around me. Taking pictures became something very personal for me. It was a way for me to hold on to what was happening in life and be a part of it while still staying out of the light of attention. 

One of the most significant memories I have using that film camera was during a church trip to Colorado. I had taken five or six rolls of film with me (that was a lot of pictures at the time) and I went through them all in the first few days of the trip. Those pictures are still some of my favorites from that time in my journey with photography. I focused a lot on people and capturing them as they naturally appeared. I never gave anyone any direction and if someone caught me taking their picture I would snap a photo quickly to get their initial reaction of surprise or confusion and then wait to take more until they forgot I was there. I wanted what was truly them and not some version of themselves they were trying to show the camera.  

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Sometime after that I remember my Dad and Clifford (the family friend who had given me his camera to use) looking through some prints I had gotten back and stopping to critique one particular photograph. It was of my sister's desk, messy, colorful, sitting in perfect light. They began to comment on how I should go back to that same spot and reorganize the shot a bit. Move this over here, position that there, clean that up, stand here... I had no idea why they were saying these things. Photographs are supposed to be an accurate representation of what was really there, not some version I created. At least, that's what I thought at the time. This moment was really the first time I had ever considered becoming a part of what I was photographing. 

After that I remember being on a family vacation in New Mexico and visiting San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, just outside of Taos. We were all standing outside looking at this church and taking pictures (and by all I mean my parents, my aunt and uncle and myself because everyone else was just running around or bored). My Dad was telling me what angles to look at, how to see the right light, where I should stand, etc. That was really the first photographic instruction I ever had and I remember not really understanding what he was saying but doing it anyway. I got bored pretty quickly with doing what I was supposed to be doing and what everyone around me was doing (shocking, I know). There were a lot of people at that church and they were all trying to take pictures of it. So, I turned around and started walking the other way and began finding new things to take pictures of. There was an older car that I found and some neat fencing and plants but what really caught my eye was a pile of trash. It was more junk than trash but it was a big pile and I found it to be so much more interesting than anything else around me. To this day it is one of my favorite images. 

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It would be another couple of years before I really started thinking about photography as something I could learn more about and do rather than just taking pictures because I wanted to. This is all I have time to tell you about to day but keep checking back for the rest of the story. 

Have a lovely Tuesday!

-Katelyn