My love affair with photography began over 2 decades ago when I was gifted a plastic, purple camera. I think it was from Avon. My sister had a matching one.
But it wasn't until a few years later, when I was reading a fiction series about a photographer that I knew the direction in which my destiny truly lay.
And yet a few years later still, when I took my first photo class in university as an elective, my life course was irrevocably altered. I couldn't run away from this Big Scary Dream any longer. I changed my degree program from business (yes, that was a laughable phase of my life) to photography and haven't looked back.
My journey with photography has had its ups and downs...but it's been mostly just up.
As Jonathan and I have been re-exploring our film roots of late, here is a small tribute I've written for my beloved Photography.
Happy weekend, y'all.
Photography, you traitor.
You thought you could get away with selling out to smart-phones and fancy filters, to pre-sets and anything kitschy. You thought no one would notice.
The masses love your loose ways...and I have to confess I can understand why. Your sexy appeal has never been so apparent.
But now anyone thinks they can have you-all of you-with no price tag. Amateurs and hardened photogs alike lament the ease with which people pick up a camera and call themselves a professional.
Photography, surely, in the midst of your mad frivolities, you see the irony in that?
Oh what shall I do with you?
But this I know, they-that ambiguous, ambitious group of posers- can’t take away our history, photography.
Do you remember our talks of composition and lighting, of moments and focus?
You used to think that mattered. I bled to please your high standards; please tell me you haven’t forgotten.
So many turn a blind eye to your philandering, paying top dollar for a sub-par product, but I know you are worth so much more than that.
And so, I appeal to your sense of nobility, any recollection of caliber you still have within you.
I appeal to the beauty of art. Why are you letting so many claim to know your ways when they know nothing about you?
Why, in the midst of your fornication, are you letting the un-tried multitude take your name en masse without a thought of the repercussions, when they produce little of worth?
Photography! It is beneath you. I love you and seeing you degraded so makes my heart ache within me.
I remember the smell of your chemicals. Snap the film into the silver canister and swish, swish, swish, tap, tap. Waiting, watching, fixing. The images neighbored in a negative row, one beside the other, neatly spinning.
My jeans wore the stains of our love for years.
How vividly I recall our cold night hours in the darkroom with the stereo sweetly singing, our only company. A bit of contrast, carefully exposed, dipping the paper into the developer neatly.
Like poetry in motion the images appear one by one as the hours tick on. Faces, moments, a bit of history stamped permanently on a thick piece of photo paper. This is why I bleed; this is why I care.
It’s just so damn beautiful.
Photography-I remember your past, our past, and I will not let you pass me by.
You are mine and I’m yours.
We’ve made a pact and I will see you through to the blessed end.
You can sell all your shiny bits to every passing Jenny, but then we shall laugh together again behind closed hands. It will be ours to keep that they do not know your secrets or understand your ways. You may be loose but there are some depths to you that only a few know. I am grateful you have allowed me to study all your intimate pieces.
Oh Photography, we have come so far. Let’s go a bit further still; I ache to know you more. How I dream of the beauty we can create together.