Photographic Roots


In my AP Language & Composition class, we had to write a personal prompt. I chose to write about how my passion for photography was cultivated and inspired. Although I wrote this prompt around September 2, 2010, I never thought of posting it until now. Enjoy!

Photographic Roots

In fifth grade, I discovered my dream job when my dad had taken my brother, Dave and I on a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. At that point, I was quite familiar with the dry climate and cacti found in abundance on the Arizona roads, but never had I seen such a magnificent formation as the Grand Canyon. At eleven years of age, I had previously traveled to the Bahamas, Arizona, and Florida, but none of these trips inspired me as much as April 2006 did.

When you see numerous pictures of a structure, monument, or land formation, you feel awestruck, then become used to its profile, detail, and color, until seeing the picture isn't as amazing as viewing it for the first time. However, all that changes when you see that structure in person.

It was the same for me at the Grand Canyon. My mother sent me to Dad's house with my clothes, a few books, and a disposable camera. She thought it would be fun for me to bring back pictures of the bright lights in Las Vegas, and the brown-toned crevices of the Grand Canyon. I felt excited, and off we were on the six hour plan trip.

Las Vegas was bright, glimmering, and glamorous, but I never sought out my camera. Over a period of two days, I had forgotten about it. Then the time came for our drive south into Arizona. The day after our arrival, we took a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, which was the first time my brother and I had ever seen it.

It was thrilling at first, when the ground fell several hundred feet below us. The dry, tan rock that was the Canyon seemed to shine in the sunlight, while the tiny Colorado River, weaving its way in between the rock sparkled a light blue. I was amazed at how pretty it looked, but I didn't have my camera.

That night, camera in hand, I sat through a sunset jeep tour of the Grand Canyon's ridge. Unlike the helicopter, I was beside the Canyon instead of above it. This made it easier to take picture.

That evening, with the painted desert sky around me, I took my first photographic pictures. It felt strange at first, then I began experimenting with camera angles, and I started feeling more professional. Although I ended up losing the camera, taking pictures that day really inspired me to take more, and that Christmas, my dad bestowed me with my own digital camera. The following February I took pictures of the sunset in San Diego, and the year after, Coco Beach in Florida. Photography was starting to feel like more than a hobby, but my life. I felt so uplifted by the beautiful scenes I could capture with my camera, and how wonderful the pictures look in frames.

Since those trips I've entered in fairs, a state-wide competition, and a magazine cover contest. In the fairs I've won numerous firsts, while in the state-wide lilac competition, I won fourth out of eight hundred. My picture is currently featured as the month of April in a calendar for 2010. More recently I entered four pictures to become the cover of the “Profile Guide”, and although none were chosen to grace its cover page, all were scattered throughout the magazine. Every time I win an award, I'm consumed with happiness; my heart skips a beat and I feel like dancing. There are so many times where I take a picture, and it prints out awful, but I still go on. I wait for that one picture that will make a difference. The one that will win an honorary award and cause me to feel jubilant. These are the toughts that keep me going.

As more people found out my photography hobby, I took more pictures. This past summer I was paid to photograph a Bat Mitzvah, the first check I've ever received for services as a photographer. I'm so proud of all the pictures I took. Many bedeck my room, and some can be found in homes of my friends and family. After receiving my first two checks for photography, I realized I can make a career out of a hobby I love, and one that has shaped my life.

Every time I upload pictures from camera to lap top, I feel overwhelmed with joy at the moment I captured, and the clear colors found within the picture. By finding the perfect angle, and the perfect scene, my eye sight has developed in a way only an artist's can. I notice more and more of what's around me, and take many pictures of the same subject, but at different angles to find out what compliments it best. By keeping my eyes open and curious, I discover more about people, life, and structures. I find overcast weather is prime for enhancing the colors of landscapes, especially greens and reds. Because of my successful landscapes, I've been asked to take upon the task of still photography for an independent film.

As I grow more as a photographer, my curiosity develops, and strengthens my understanding. Because of my awareness, I've learned to listen more rather than talk. And as Dorothea Lange, once said, “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still”. I hope to capture the moments that will live on forever, and change a small piece of the world one picture at a time.

*Photo in the upper left was taken in San Diego, California one year after my trip to the Grand Canyon.