Where my passion began for photography

April 5, 2021

When my family went on vacation my mother would always hand me the camera and tell me to photograph the rooms. Whether it was a hotel or condo it was my job to document the space in its entirety. This included the kitchen, the bathroom, and naturally the view from the window or balcony. I never really understood why it was so important but obeyed. As I look back I can finally appreciate this routine as it taught me to document the whole scene which in turn played upon my love of architecture, symmetry, angles, and perspective. I can honestly say that this was great practice for me and what I love to do when first getting on-site for a new event, document the space, and always trying to avoid being in the reflections of the mirrors. Consequently, I did photograph a lot of spaces and for some reason also notice that there were not a lot of family photos.

In my eighth-grade year, I participated in the yearbook which I absolutely loved. Being encouraged to photograph the school, events, and the people. In addition, I further discovered my love of design and use of negative space laying out the pages I was assigned to create back in the days before computers on graph paper. I did however realize pretty quickly that the writing portion was not my strong suit. It turns out that in addition to the images I needed for the sections I was also fortunate to have been chosen to provide the cover image. So I guess you can say I was "published" back in junior high. In addition to that elective, I also chose to do a photography-inspired science fair project. I actually did a side-by-side comparison between Kodak and Fuji films. Yes, I was and will always have the inner geek side to me. At that time I had a few friends in high school and loved seeing the black and white images that they had taken, developed, and printed. The obsession had certainly begun.

In high school, I got involved in the photography classes being offered. It was not Photojournalism which was for newspaper or yearbook, yet more a fine art class. We were taught the basics of art and how the different styles of art influenced and led to the creation of photography. I can remember building an 8x10 pinhole camera and still have the image I took with it. I loved challenges and was drawn towards textures and shapes and abstractions. One of my friends and I would go out at night and challenge each other to get the best images. It created a great rivalry and pushed me to explore and experiment. I purchased a tripod and we would head out during a full moon and find things to photograph. At age 14 I was learning about timed exposures and reciprocity and often had 15-30 second exposures of various subjects. I had learned about a photo contest and submitted a few images for consideration. Turns out I ended up placing first and second place in the Houston Chronicle contest and was being awarded actual money. Wait, I can actually make money at this? Well, it turns out I did get a check and immediately invested that money into building my own darkroom including an enlarger, trays, and chemicals so that I was not limited to just the single class period to be able to make prints. I loved the entire process of photography so much that I ended up taking it for three years. The two images are below for reference.


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