I get asked that a lot.
The answer is long and complicated. I don’t know how to condense it.
Tonight while cleaning out some cabinets I came across the photograph that started it all.
So here’s the story and the picture.
My husband was the one who loved photography. When his 35mm Minolta was stolen in 2003 I encouraged him to go digital. After a lot of research, we ordered the then-new Sony F828 in early 2004. And it sat in a box on the dining room table for about 2 months untouched. Then the daffodils bloomed. My favorite flower. I decided to pull out the F828 one Saturday and take a picture. I put it on auto and snapped this image:
I understand that it’s really not much at all. Just a boring little photo with poor composition and lots of technical flaws. But it touched a long-unsatisfied creative desire in me. Looking at it now I think it may have just been the time that God ordained for me. I try to remember that when I wish I’d started when I was young. Instead it filled my empty nest.
My husband never got his camera back. I drove all over Montgomery the next day and took photograph after photograph. I took hundreds and hundreds of photographs that first year keeping notebooks and scrapbooks full of images: studying, experimenting, striving to improve, loving every minute. I joined photo clubs online and became active in the local camera club (the best thing I ever did for my photography!) I took the long way to everywhere so I could stop along country roads and towns. A sentence in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life became a pivotal point in my photography, “God smiles when we enjoy His creation.” That is exactly what I have done and continue to do.
But I swore I’d never photograph people!
Then I started seeing the beauty of the Creator in every single person I met. I knew everyone had worth, but I just never realized how beautiful we are! There is the kiss of God on each of us whether we acknowledge Him or not. And in that kiss is beauty as well as worth. So I started photographing people. I wanted them to see the beauty in themselves that God sees. That also makes me look at people strangely. I keep waiting for someone to confront me about why I’m staring at them. And then it’s going to sound really weird when I say it’s because they’re so beautiful.
But I swore I’d never photograph weddings.
Famous last words! I reluctantly entered the wedding market assisting a friend and fellow photographer who soon moved to another state. By then I was hooked. Which I still can’t explain. It is just such an honor to be trusted with such an important day in a person’s life. I’ve met some really, really wonderful people. And I feel so blessed that words fail me.
So, there it is. How I got started in photography. I’ve come a long way since that first photograph. I’ve been through the Sony F828 (which I still love for infrared photography!), the Canon 20D, a Canon 5D, and now the 5D Mark ii (and yes, I’m coveting the Mark iii).
And I hope the Good Lord gives me many more years to enjoy life, love, and His creation!