Every decision we make can change the course of our lives. We never know how our choices will affect the future, although we like to think we do. I can pinpoint the exact day my life in the world of photography started and it all began with one choice.
It was the end of my freshman year of high school. Just like every other day, the morning announcements came over the loud speaker. The yearbook needed more students to join the class for the next year; they were looking for an editor, writers, and a photographer. I fancied myself decent writer and had hopes of being an English major in college, so I figured this was a good opportunity. By the time I met up with the yearbook instructor, all the slots for writers had been filled, but they were still in need of a photographer. “Have you ever done photography before?” she asked. I didn’t believe my experience with a 110 camera, that was a gift from my Grandmother really qualified as doing photography, so I said no. “We really need a photographer, the two we have are graduating. If you’d like to learn, there’s a three day class that you can take this summer”, she explained. I thought about it for a minute, and then decided why not, I’d be in the class and maybe I could do some writing as well as taking pictures.
I took the three-day photo class in Boise Idaho, I really enjoyed learning the basics of how to shoot, develop film and print photos. When I arrived on the first day of my sophomore year I was handed a Canon AE-1 camera with a roll of Kodak black and white film by the Yearbook instructor and told to go shoot. It was then & there that I realized that I was the only photographer for the Yearbook and that it was my responsibility to document the school year. I shot the entire 36-exposure roll of film that day, and I was hooked. I guess I did a pretty good job, because I was the only Yearbook photographer my high school had until I graduated. I went on to Art School after that and studied Commercial Photography, 20 years after picking up a camera for the first time; I’m still taking pictures.
I often think about where I would be in life if I hadn’t heard that announcement, or if there would have been a writing position available. That moment that I said yes, I’d like to learn to take pictures, my life was changed and I’m happy I made that choice.
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