Photography has always been a part of my life. I have said many times that I have the most well documented life of any kid. Well, at least a kid that grew up back in the days of film…now my collection of growing up photos pales in comparison to the digital downpour of images. My mom always had film in the camera and was shooting everything. Out fridge was filled with canisters of all kinds – 100, 200, 400 speed film, black and white film, and her favorite for special shoots: slides. Well, I am astounded to report that her fridge still has a basket of film on the top shelf even though she has not shot on film in YEARS! (Mom take note, it may be time to give in and empty that shelf…!)
My life as a photographer has evolved depending on what camera is in my hands. Before leaving for the Seychelles after high school, I bought the “zoomiest” camera I could that did not have detachable lenses (less space for salt and sand to penetrate into the operating parts of my camera). This camera and I had so many adventures. It took amazing photos, was easy to use, and fit perfectly in my hands. We travelled through the Seychelles, England, and the first few years at WSU documenting everything. Those images are some of my most treasured possessions. This little Canon came with me to Zanzibar too. Sadly, she did not come home. My camera met it’s end after a misfortunate encounter with a rogue wave and then a downward spiral involving rice lodged in it’s memory card slot. It killed me not to have a camera during my last month abroad. But I survived! I borrowed cameras, shared images with friends. My trip was still documented, and now lives in a photo book (as do the Seychelles and WSU images).
After the Canon disaster I bought a smaller point and shoot that I could tuck in my pocket, as well as take diving since my brother has the underwater case. This camera has trekked to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, diving in the Red Sea, Italy and on many, many hikes. I love that it is small and compact, and actually takes quite good pictures. It is also not intimidating to hand over to a stranger to shoot a photo! Eventually I started to get itchy for a new camera. A big sister to my little pocket sized standby.
I now shoot with three cameras: my Canon T2i, little pocket canon, and my iPhone. Which do I use the most? Its really a tossup. I love experimenting with the T2i but I have to plan to take it places. It is mostly reserved for events or specific “take the camera” moments. For everyday I am relying more and more on my iPhone. It makes me a little sad to see my “real” camera just sitting there, or when I am working on a new photo book. The images from my big camera are FAR superior in every way than the others, and so I tend to favor those images over the everyday ones from my phone. In my last book I did not even include my phone images.
When I got that book back, I immediately knew that something was missing. Memories and events that I knew were captured were missing from the pages of my book. Was it really worth leaving those photos out because they were not “good enough?” That is when a switch flipped. I no longer cared about how “perfect” my images were, what was important was that they WERE! Of course I still strive to make my photos as clear and artistically composed as possible, but sometimes that blurry-phone-image-that-was-taken-in-a-too-dark-room is really the memory that I want to look back on. Recently I have been taking more photos and playing with them in Instagram (fun app that changes the color/texture of the image). I have had a love/hate relationship with these images as well. I loved them on my phone, but felt that to publish or print them, they needed to be “real” and therefore in their unedited form. But they lost something. Adding the filters adds more context to the image. I feel like the feeling behind the image/moment comes through and really enhances rather than takes away from the photo. Now, when I work with these Instagram photos, I use them as they come off my camera. Filters, borders and all. And I am finally not too proud to include it in my books. It feels good.