Why I Chose Photography

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Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by the camera. Like most people with young children, my parents constantly had a camera in my face. No matter where we went or what we did, it was there; freezing that moment in time with a neon yellow date stamped at the bottom right corner. My eyes would light up when I saw the device, perplexed as to how one button made it work. I remember holding it in my hands and looking at the shutter open and close and staring at my reflection in the lens. The camera was so small, but it held the world inside of it. The moments it captured were everlasting, permanently retained for the rest of time.

However, following my parents’ divorce and my brother and I growing up, the picture taking slowed down. Somewhere inside of me felt uneasy with the change. I felt as though my life wasn’t being as documented as it should have been. Me, being the anxious and overly-conscientious person I am, I feared of losing every experience I had and saw the camera as a way to keep them.

After months of begging my parents, they finally got me my first real camera: a little pink Sanyo point and shoot I still have in my desk with all of my other camera items. For about 4 years the camera went everywhere with me. I used it to take pictures at my friends’ houses, birthday parties, events, and more. Looking back on the pictures now, they are cringe-worthy and a little awkward, showing the generation at the time slowly becoming the people they are today. But nonetheless, I love them so. They remind me of the childhood I had and those memories that reside within them.

At one point I started to wonder what else I could do with the camera. What were the boundaries I could push it to? This resulted in some great photos of little me lying in the grass with the side bangs swooped to the side; something pulled out of a 2005 Tumblr post. However, this want for more pictures, more memories, and more ideas to be represented through an art form began my obsession and passion for photography.

Throughout high school, I experimented with the basics: lighting, still life, and landscape photography. During this time I got my first big DSLR, a Sony a230. I eventually produced some things that were worth looking at. I carried that camera with me everywhere I went and it became a known staple for me. Photography was my place to go when I felt as though I needed to get away. It fed my wanderlust and gave me a reason to keep exploring.

After some years of me putting my camera down and picking it back up (due to a struggle with anxiety and depression), it was time to apply for college. I knew exactly what I wanted to go for without any hesitation in me. If the answer is not obvious enough, I’ll say the word again: photography. It became apparent to me at this time how many people looked at art as nothing more than a mere hobby. There were multiple adults that I looked up to that told me I was wasting my drive, my intelligence, and my potential, on something as simple and childlike as photography. I can sit here for hours and rant about why I, like many others, shouldn’t be judged and criticized for their major. But I’ll put it simply: I love photography. I love the power the camera has. It is like the missing puzzle piece for this day and age. It fills us in on things that we didn’t see before. It makes me feel alive. It surrounds us constantly (especially within our social media) even if people don’t realize it. It is a powerful device that is able to capture a moment of time within a split second, and if that thought doesn’t create a shiver down your spine, I don’t know what will.

I don’t know where my journey will take me or where I'll end up, but I know my camera will be in my hand the whole time, documenting the experience as I go.