Pictures are something I absolutely love. Even as a kid, I always had a camera with me, taking pictures anywhere I went. I'm not sure how my love for photography developed, but when I was nine I received my first camera from Santa Claus. I had begged and pleaded to get a camera, whispering in Santa's ear that he just had to make my dream come true. On Christmas eve that year, I was sick. I couldn't sleep and had a tummy ache. After getting sick in the bathroom sometime in the middle of the night, my mom by my side, she pulled me over to the Christmas tree bulging with surprises from Santa, yet undiscovered by our little eyes. She picked up a box from under the tree and handed it to me, saying: Here, maybe if you get to open one surprise, you'll feel a little better.
My mom and I sat there underneath the lights of the tree as i slowly opened the box. Inside was my dream come true. A camera! With a roll of film and batteries and a little case all perfectly filling the little box. I was speechless, and I looked at my mom, her eyes wide with happiness. "I think Santa knew just what would make you feel all better," she told me. I hugged her hard and we did a little dance, just the two of us sharing a special moment far too early that Christmas morning.
As she tucked me in, my little box full of camera snuggled tight beside me, I finally fell asleep. Yet, morning couldn't come early enough, and as my brothers and I made our way to see what surprises Santa had in store for us, I had already inserted my first roll of film and was capturing the first of our Christmas moments to be forever captured on film. It was a little girl's dream come true.
I enrolled in photography classes throughout junior high and high school, learning better lighting and capturing modes. I learned darkroom techniques and solutions and loved removing my rolls of film to take them into the darkroom, hold them under the solution, watch an image fill the paper, pick them up with a tweezers and hang them to dry, awaiting the moment when those images became something I could grasp onto and call my own work of art. I loved those classes. And I did well in them because of my love for photography.
Fast forward a few years. I still always had my camera, always took photos, and then ran them off to the pharmacy where I could pick them up later and see the results of my work. I collected thousands of pictures, but after taking them, they were always left to sit in the little envelope in which they were returned to me. I never made photo albums or scrapbooks, just stored them in a box, all those memories coming alive again and again when I would open up the box and like my first camera, thumb through them awestruck.
I still love photography. I wish I had taken my love for it further, learned more, used my talent to latch onto something I could have turned into a career. But I didn't. Instead, I play with pictures, filling my digital viewfinder with the things I find most important, my family my desired subjects. I love having digital images in which I can immediately relive all those wonderful memories. My husband purchased an external harddrive to store all of my captured memories, as I can't control myself when a camera is in my hand. I feel freedom and happiness, and when I get one really terrific picture out of a hundred i took on any given day, I am ecstatic. I can look through my online albums for hours without ever getting bored. I can remember back to the moment that picture was taken and awaken with it the happy (or sad) experiences that it evokes inside me.
Someone commented not long ago that they love to watch me when I take a picture. As I align my subject in my viewfinder, the passion on my face, and then, just as i click, my lips form into a smile, and as I review the image, I cock my head with a little smile on my lips as I see this creation which I will always have to carry with me. I didn't know I did this, but since it has been brought to my attention I am more aware of my photography style, and it is indeed true. I just love knowing that I'll have that moment captured to remind me forever of that one moment in time.
Photography. One of the greatest loves of my life. And one in which brings happiness to many more than just me alone.