Thursday, April 12, 2012

Everyone Has a Story--What is Yours?

Everyone has a story.  What is yours?  How you can you rediscover your story through photography?

You may not think you have a story, but you do.  Can you recapture the essence of your story by becoming a photographer?  You bet!  The process is very simple.  Psychologists tell us that most of our personality traits are in place by age five (or six, or seven, or eight).  I am not sure what the exact age is, but you get the drift.  Think back to what you enjoyed doing at that age.  You may have had a particularly blessed childhood, or it may have been difficult. But even the most difficult childhood has peak moments.  What type of activities did you enjoy, left to your own devices?  How can you incorporate those things into your life now, and how does photography both inform and enhance that experience?

I can tell you my story, and like many people’s stories, it starts with my mother.  I always felt loved by my parents, but, because I was the youngest child, I felt a bit of disengagement on the part of my mother when I was growing up.  Part of it  had to do with my particular generation, part of it had to do with her parenting style, and part of it was her not wanting to be all that bothered, beyond carpools, birthday parties, making sure I knew how to swim, teaching me to brush my teeth and say bedtime prayers.  Her favorite book in those days was “Where did you go? Out.  What did you do? Nothing.”  She devoured that book and after reading it she became even more adamant about this parenting style, and laughed every time she said the title of the book.

Because I always felt I could go to her with any issues, or problems, without judgment on her part, I did that a few times.  She would listen, and then give me this advice, “Why don’t you go outside and play?”   I took this advice to heart.  Going outside to play meant that I was to fend for myself and not bother her any more for the rest of the day, and everything would be fine.  Nobody had  fenced  yards in my neighborhood.  Nobody minded kids wandering on their property.  I kept myself entertained various ways-- by playing with our outdoor, unfenced dog, wandering over to my cousins’ house for various sports activities and other mischief, feeding the horses across the street, and watching tadpoles turn into frogs in the pond next door.  

 And then there were trees!  I convinced my parents to place the jungle gym under the pecan tree so I could reach the branches and climb that one particular tree.  I spent several  hours per week in that tree.  But I didn’t limit myself.  Apparently one time my uncle, who lived next door, called my mom and told her he was looking out of his second story bedroom window and he saw me so high in a tree that he feared for me.  He wanted to call out to me to get down from the tree, but worried about startling me.  If my uncle meant for my mother to warn me about my tree climbing, he failed.  She loved telling that story and laughed.  

That is my story.  But more important, what is yours?  Rediscovering my story through photography helped reconnect me with my past, and with provided me both with a stronger sense of self and a stronger connection to the world around me.  You can guess what kinds of photos I take!   If you can’t guess, then take a look.

If you loved sports, you could go to some sporting events and trying to get action shots.  If you loved arranging furniture in a dollhouse you would love still life photography.  Did you play with your Barbie dolls and collect all the clothes?  You could buy and sell stuff on Ebay, and put up enticing looking photos.  I am convinced that the best photographs produce the highest bids!  You may have had a chemistry set and a microscope.  Ah, macro photography is for you.  If you liked looking through a  telescope there is always astrophotography.  If you are an artist, you would probably love a lot of different kinds of photography, including portrait photography.  If your mom baked cookies with you instead of telling you go outside and play, you might want to get into food photography!  Photos can really make food look delicious.   If you grew up in the ‘hood, please look into street photography, which is one of my favorite genres to peruse.  And if you were a member of the Audio Visual Club in high school, you can learn cameras and their functions and run circles around me.  Then you definitely need your own blog!

Rediscover your story through photography, and your life will be enhanced.  I promise!

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