Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Photographic Memory



     When I was seven my grandmother bought me my first camera. We were going to Canada to attend EXPO 67. She thought it would be rewarding for me to create my own memories of the trip, viewed from my own perspective. That was the beginning of my lifetime love affair with photography. We developed the photos and lovingly placed them in a special album that I have and treasure to this day. I remember the sense of pride I felt when people would remark about the photos I had taken, using phrases like “well composed” and “natural aptitude”. They called my photos beautiful and I was forever changed. 

     I know the complements and praise I received motivated me to take more photos and continue to experience that wonderful feeling of accomplishment. It didn’t matter if I was really a junior photography savant or just a lucky little girl surrounded by support for anything I would have embraced.

     As the years have come and gone the camera has practically become an extension of my arm. My attic houses a camera museum of sorts. From Kodak Brownie and the family Argus to the Disc camera and even some leftover blue dot flash bulbs. they are all up there, each having played their part in the story of my life. Each has been a friend, traveling companion and learning tool. I’m still never without a camera. The equipment has changed and become more advanced. The instamatic of my youth, with the rotating flashcube has been replaced by the digital Nikon with multiple lenses. What has not changed is the excitement I feel when a shot turns out just as I had intended it, or the sentimental comfort I feel when I stumble across an old travel photo and I am transported to another place and time, where for a moment I can walk though the past and smile.

      Here it is forty-three years later and I am still sorting and categorizing my photos and videos. I married a man who loves photography and travel as much as I do. Together, no longer constrained by the confines of film photography we happily and regularly stretch the boundaries of our seemingly limitless digital capability.  The sheer volume of media we produce makes the organizing and archiving process painstaking at times but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love to explore how our photographic representations of the same subjects reflect our individuality and our similarities as a couple. No matter how many years have passed, whenever I compose a shot, sort through my best work or lovingly archive my memories the feeling of love and pride instilled in me by my grandmother are still fresh and strong.

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