Photography has been an off-and-on hobby of mine for decades. I remember my first camera – a red rectangle with a viewfinder, a shutter, a film compartment, and nothing more. And I loved it. I took pictures of everything. My dog. Flowers in the yard. The trees. My family members. The things of ordinary everyday life that previously existed on the periphery of my eye now became the focus.
I won’t lie. I was a terrible photographer. I paid no attention to composition, frame, light, motion. Then again, I was 8 years old. Eventually the camera broke, as did one or two after it, and the fun began to wear off.
Fast-forward 20 years. Enter the digital age and my first digital camera. Without the expense of film, I could take as many photos as I wanted and learn how to really use a camera. Right? Wrong. I got into the digital game too early and too cheaply. My inexpensive camera was so slow that by the time the shutter closed, the subject was long gone. Even if the subject was 100-year-old oak tree. Out of frustration, I paused my hobby again.
A few years later I found myself with some free time and an extra $200 to my name. A quick trip to Target on Independence Day found me in the electronics aisle, eyeing a beautiful 35mm. This camera had both automatic and manual settings. Perfect! I could finally learn how to take great photos without the constraints of the automatic settings. Right? Wrong again. I soon learned that the cost of developing rolls of practice shots was prohibitive, and frustrating. Sadly, I never even learned how to use the automatic settings.
And that brings us up to the present. Last fall, realizing that a DSLR was way beyond my budget, I purchased a used bridge camera with a realistic goal. If I could master this camera, I would use any saved fun money to buy the coveted DSLR. With its faults and limitations, I found myself trying to justify the cost of a big fancy camera. That is, until I read A Lesser Photographer – A Manifesto.
What spoke to me most was point 4: Tell a Story. Great photos tell a story. This simple principle changed the way I looked at photography. What stories do I have to tell that I can show through my photos? Maybe more importantly, how can I share the whole story that I sometimes find myself aching to tell? The answer is in this blog. Here I can share my photos and their stories. Or share a story and its photo. In the process of sharing with you, I imagine I’ll learn a little about me.