No one who knows me would be surprised when I say that I suffer from anxiety and have a wee bit of trouble valuing and understanding my place in the world. I’m an introvert who loves to talk. Crowds and noise generally exhaust me but nothing thrills me more than a crowded and ridiculously loud concert with one of my many favorite bands playing. It’s all a bit confusing and can sometimes overwhelm me. Not as much nowadays as in the past but there’s always a hamster on a wheel in the back of my head running their little heart out trying to escape it all.
I know exactly why I’m like this. So many reasons that combined to make the person and personality that is me. This is how it works for all of us. Quite remarkable when one thinks about it. Bring an egg and a sperm together and eventually you’ll have a fully formed and hopefully functional human being.
Knowing why I’m like this doesn’t necessarily mean that I know how to fix it though. Or if it is fixable. Do I really want to fix it? What are essential parts to the person?
What brings a life into focus?
I’ve always been fascinated with photography, in all it’s forms. I think part of the reason is because it provides a bit of distance from the life swirling about me and with a bit of distance it’s easier to see what’s actually going on and process it.
When I was little, probably even before I could read, I would flip through my mother’s photo albums. They had garishly colored covers and were spiral bound with “magnetic” pages. I now know that those albums are horrible for the photos but as a kid that sheet of plastic meant I could look at them without supervision. In those pages I saw moments frozen in time before I was even born with the faces of the people around me but slightly softer and less worn.
My first camera was a Kodak Disc. It fit in the pocket of my jean jacket and had the most adorable teeny tiny negatives. It was the first time in my life I had control over which moment was captured. Now I was the one pasting the photographs down in my own photo albums. Choosing which moments were laid out in the narrative and captioned for future reference.
I bought myself a Pentax K-1000 in high school. I barely knew how to set the it and money for film and developing was always in short supply but I loved that camera. Saw many miles and countless people through that lens.
My transition to digital happened with a lot of kicking and screaming and dragging of feet but now that I’m here I love it. For the first time in my life I can shoot as much as I want. What a luxury.
Now I have access to three cameras, each with their own benefits.
There’s the phone in my pocket on my ancient and ailing iPhone 4. That’s the one I have the most problems with. It’s only 8gb so I have to dump the photos on a regular basis or I don’t have enough room to capture a spontaneous image.
At work I use an Olympus Stylus TG-4 and I’ll occasionally borrow it if I’m traveling light. It has a microscope mode that is unlike anything I’ve had access to before. I have a macro lens for the Pentax but this is even better, especially with the light ring for proper exposure.
He bought me Nikon D3100 several years back for Xmas. I’d wanted a dslr for years but could never afford one and was completely intimidated by them. He liked to buy me tech and with being an IT guy and knowing me pretty well he bought the right tech for me.
I was able to take a class to on the basics of digital photography a couple of years ago and now sorta understand how to use all the dials and buttons, or at least most of them. It’s going to take several more years of actually using them before I really get how it works. That’s just the way my brain is.
Now that work is less demanding I’d like to spend more time wandering around with my camera. While I love industrial and urban decay I think I’d like to try shooting something new.
We shall see what I shall see.