Last spring, I shared the story behind Legacy Portraits. But the story of how I became a photographer in the first place? That’s a story I’ve told over and over — but I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever written it down. So here goes!
My photography story starts in college, with a few flashbacks to my early childhood. See, I’d known from about age five that I wanted to be a writer. That’s right, a writer, not a photographer. Come college, I decided to major in English and minor in creative writing, and, what the heck, I would take a few journalism classes, too. When I was 20, my journalism professor introduced me to one of the editors at my local newspaper, and my time as a freelance reporter officially began.
A couple years later, I was still doing stories for the paper as I finished up my bachelor degree, turning in one or two human-interest pieces each week. (I always tell people, “‘Human-interest pieces’ means I was covering pickle-eating contests. Literally.”) The paper was facing some budget cuts, so they asked me to start shooting my own pictures to accompany my stories. This, despite the fact that I only owned a point-and-shoot camera and had no photography know-how. But I started shooting. It was my first paid photography gig! And at that point, I was pretty terrible.
Gradually though, I realized I was enjoying the photography aspect of my work as much or more than interviewing people and writing copy. I was also getting a little more creative behind the camera. I still only had that little point-and-shoot, but soon I got my first DSLR. That was right around the time the newspaper was sold, my editor moved to another section of the paper, and a new editor came in to run my section. Long story short, she and I had some pretty major “creative differences” — and since I knew the future I wanted wasn’t with a newspaper anyway, I decided it was time to move on. That was when I first ventured to say out loud what I’d been thinking for a while. So one day I told Danny, “I think I want to be a photographer.
And he said, “Let’s do it.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Six years’ worth of history at this point . . . and a story (or twenty!) for another time.