My photography, that is. My photography started with a little clay fox that my mom has on this shelf full of trinkets by the kitchen. It must have been, oh I don’t know, 15 years ago. My brother Caleb had an art class in elementary school that gave all the students a camera for a weekend and the assignment was to take a full roll of pictures. Easy enough. And I was at that age where I thought that literally everything my brothers did was THE coolest thing you could possibly do. You know, the age where you gladly accept a suspicious looking piece of candy from them, only to find out due to their uncontained laughter that the dog had been chewing on it moments earlier. (Yeah. Gross.) Or when they scream and yell at the TV while the Bulls play against the Jazz in the playoffs, you yell and scream, too, even if you’re not sure what you’re screaming for. (But cheering for Michael Jordan, of course.) Or when they head out to play night games with all the neighborhood kids, you want to go too. And you get to because your mom makes them take you. (Sometimes it pays being the baby of the family.)
Anyway. I saw my brother taking pictures, and I wanted to do the same thing. But while he was just trying to finish an assignment, my eyes were opened up to a world of almost endless possibilities. I started looking through the small collection of magazines in my house (which consisted mostly of Better Homes and Gardens and a few National Geographics), and my imagination started to run wild. I found my parents’ old Kodak camera, and decided to get to work. I was going to out-do my brother. Because you also want to prove yourself at that age. The only issue was that I had no idea what I was going to photograph…
That’s when I saw the fox. The small, fragile, clay fox that made my 8 year old brain overflow with ideas. I was going to take that fox outside and make it look as if it had pulled an Alice in Wonderland, like it was a tiny fox in giant world. I put it in the grass. I put it in a tree. I put in a bush. I even put it on a big rock and ran the hose over the rock to make it look like it was next to a small waterfall. (I guess you could call me an over-achiever.) I went through every scenario in our yard that my little brain could think of, until I had taken 24 frames. And I could not WAIT to take it to Walmart to be developed.
When I got the pictures back, though, I was more than a bit disappointed. They were nothing more than blobs of green and brown and gray, with one big orange blob in the middle. Of course, I had no idea that the camera I used had no macro capabilities whatsoever, and that every picture I had taken would turn out horribly blurry. Needless to say, Caleb won that round.
Fortunately, I’ve come quite a long way since then. But I was going through old pictures the other day and I came across my blurry fox disasters. It’s amazing what kind of memories and emotions a single photograph can bring back. I think that’s one of the reasons I am so passionate about what I do… That, and because now I could beat Caleb any day of the week ; )