When people find out that I am a photographer and see my work they often ask me, “Hey Mo, how did you get into photography?”
That is a great question and I am always willing to talk about it, so let’s get started.
About 16 years ago our first child, Addison, was born. I bought a point and shoot film camera. I enjoyed taking snapshots of her. (Note, I said ‘snapshots’ not photographs. Mo on that in a minute) She is super cute and I couldn’t resist taking pictures of such a cute face. My snapshots were fun, but expensive to buy and process film so they were limited.
Five years later our son, Cade, was born. Digital photography was taking over and I replaced my film camera with another basic point and shoot camera but saved the images digitally. I took lots of snapshots of our awesome kids, and some of them were good, but they never had a “Wow” to them. I did a great job of capturing our kids as they grew but not that well.
As the kids got bigger and the price of digital became Mo affordable and the images and file sizes got bigger, I stepped into better and better cameras. Finally about 5 years ago I bought my first entry level DSLR camera, a Nikon D40. I just wasn’t going to drop a ton of money into a camera until I knew I would use it an enjoy it.
I used it, I used it a lot! I hauled it through Disney World for 5 days taking over 3,000 snapshots. I took it on a cruise to Mexico and fired off 1,500 snapshots. I took over 20,000 snapshots with that camera, all in the green label “Auto” mode. “Auto” mode is the default mode in the camera that lets the camera making all the choices for a picture. Shutter Speed, ISO, Focal point, metering and Aperture is all determined by the camera. It does its best to figure out the scene and situation and give the best picture possible. For the most part they do great, but not optimal. I am not cracking on this mode, I used it for years.
Then it happened. “Velcro Swag” was born.
This photo was taken just a few years ago at Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law’s house in College Station, Texas. That is him holding the solo cup with sweet tea. We were sitting on the back porch after deep frying 4 turkeys in the garage. We had a moment to sit down and rest while the final preparations were being made inside. I was sitting there with my camera and we were talking about Aggie Football or something and I ‘saw’ this shot. I was taken back, it was the first picture I had actually ‘seen’ before pressing the button. I had taken thousand and thousands of snapshots but this was the first picture I ‘saw’ in front of me. I framed the image and pressed the button. (Yes, I was still in ‘Auto’ mode)
I remember sitting there and seeing the classic red solo cup, the rocking chairs, the fly on the pant leg, and in the back ground white, I mean WHITE, velcro shoes in the background. Clean and sharp. The scene spoke to me! I saw the image. That moment was a great awakening for me. I realized that I was taking snapshots and not photographs. This was a photograph! This told a story. This had composition. This captured a moment with clarity that I had never experienced. I took the shot above and spent the rest of the day wondering, how in the heck did I ‘see’ that and how do I repeat the process?
Then the quest began. How do I learn Mo? How do I repeat pictures like this one again, again and again? How do I process and image like this in post production? What is post production? What if I can’t repeat this gem?
That was several years ago, and I am constantly amazed at how much I have learned and how far I have grown as a photographer and artist. I still have SOOO much still to learn, but it is an such an exciting time. I can’t seem to satisfy my thirst for knowledge, practice and development of my art.
I can look back 6 months ago at my work and think, I thought was good? I have become hyper critical of my work. Every detail bothers me and I seem to be rarely satisfied, but not so much that I don’t share my work. This is how I learn. This is how I grow. How I got to where I am is a story for another blog and I will be happy to share it. Keep watching my blog.
I am not afraid to share my secrets and share how I got where I am and where I am going. I love to teach and talk about photography. I thought it was important that you know where I came from, what drove me, and the catalyst that sparked the hidden fire within me.
It all started with a picture that my son helped me name – “Velcro Swag”
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