My story is a part of everything I am, and every moment I capture. It is because of my father that I have this story to tell - For that, I am forever grateful.
This is my story...
serendipity, a cat, and a camera
Photography didn’t find me until later in life. In fact, it didn’t even touch base with me along the way. It didn’t check in to entice me or make me wonder about it. It never even looked my way or flirted with me to let me know that it might be the slightest bit interested in me. Perhaps it took a wrong turn somewhere along the way.
In the spring of 2013, I received an unexpected gift from my father that changed my life. I had been thinking about purchasing a camera; nothing special, just a simple point and shoot. I asked my father, a camera enthusiast, for some advice on what to buy. During our conversation, he mentioned wanting to buy a new camera for himself. He also mentioned the possibility of giving me his old DSLR.
And so it was, that a few weeks later, my father got his new camera and I got his old Nikon DSLR and a couple of lenses. My father showed me how to turn it on, and told me to read the manual!
It was a generous gift that I was truly grateful for, however, I was completely overwhelmed by such an intimidating piece of equipment. I really just needed a camera with one lens, one button, and a user manual the size of a pamphlet, not a phone book! I put the camera on the bookshelf and forgot about it.
Weeks later, while watching television one evening, I noticed the camera bag out of the corner of my eye; it had been moved to a new spot on the shelf. I felt a little ping of guilt for not using it. So I picked it up, took the lens cap off and turned it on. That wasn’t so hard. I sized up the room looking for interesting subject matter, aimed the camera at my cat, pressed the shutter button and looked down at the display screen to view my shot.
I can only imagine that somewhere in the Universe of my life there was a loud hissing shriek, like that of a freight train screeching to a halt, as my journey through life came to a dead stop at an unexpected fork in the road.
I stared at the photo. It was grainy, out of focus, underexposed, and poorly composed. I didn't notice any of that though. All I saw within that chaotically composed frame was my cat and how the light fell upon him illuminating his green eyes and orange nose. I saw the expression on his face and in his eyes – there was something in his eyes that sent a wave of emotion through me.
In the split second when that shutter opened, I captured a moment that contained everything he was – his essence. I captured a part of him.
I lifted the camera in hopes of capturing the moment again, this time more clearly. But he was gone; sound asleep on the sofa. The moment had passed. I gazed at the image on the display. No, it hadn’t passed. It was right there on that tiny screen, the soul of a moment – and I had captured it.
I realize now that when I looked through the lens of my camera that very first time, I saw so much more than just my cat: I saw a new path in the road along my journey of life. It is a path I am certain of – a path that only became visible to me from behind the lens of a camera.
Not a day has gone by since that serendipitous moment in 2013 that I haven’t photographed someone or something. Whether I am photographing for a job, personal pleasure or practice, every day provides new opportunities for me to learn, explore, capture, create and grow as a photographer.
Photography finally found me. And it came to me with bells and whistles. It came to me when I least expected it, but when I needed it most. And together, we are a perfect fit.