Moments come and go. But some moments hold more weight than others, shaping important parts of who we are. For me, taking pictures is a practice that allows me to better observe myself, others, and the world around me. Recently, I sat down to think about the moments that lead me to photography and how I became obsessed with chasing the light.
Life has a way of circling back to its beginning. As an adult, I’m fascinated by how many of my interests had roots in my early childhood. Photography is one of those seeds that was planted long ago.
I’ve never identified my father as a photographer. But I now realize he was exactly that. He had all the equipment, including a Vivitar 35mm film camera with several interchangeable lenses. More important than the gear, he had a passion for taking pictures.
As a small child, his equipment fascinated me. I remember how he let me hold the camera and take pictures. Often, he would task me with carrying his heavy camera bag, like a golf caddy who knew nothing about golf. Still, there was something about the clicking buttons and smooth, twisting controls on the lenses. Even as a child, the camera felt special; engineered like one of my father’s many collectible firearms.
The weight and action told me this was a powerful tool.
There were other objects I prized, like the smooth little plastic containers that once held film rolls. Some were clear; most were black with gray lids. I collected these for storing tiny items like coins I found in the couch seats, bbs for my air rifle, and other miscellaneous treasures.
My father’s photography regularly pulled me out of the house as we made trips to drop off film at the local store. We deposited several rolls of film while picking up the previous visit’s newly developed pictures. Thumbing through new photographs and seeing them for the first time was always an exhilarating experience. There were landscape photos from trips, action photos from my brother’s football and track meets, and general documentation of daily life in my interesting home.
I always tried to fill out the large envelopes used to submit the film for processing, marking whether the film roll was black and white or…