I’ve been a photographer since I could see. What I mean by that is that my eyes are cameras. My eyes have always been keen and have seen things in a way that is different than many. As a small child, I spent endless hours watching life in flora and fauna go about its business, usually paying no attention to my still form watching.
When I grew older I learned what a camera was, and it wasn’t long before my parents bought me my very first one. My perspective was expanded with the camera’s eye. My parents didn’t pay much attention to my pictures, as they were busy and were glad the photography was keeping me busy. It didn’t matter if the photos were good or not, only that they were authentic in their perspective. The idea of a contrived photo never entered my mind at 16 years old.
High school passed and community college began. I got a job at a nearby camera shop and became roommates with another girl in an artist’s loft on Begonia Court. We lived on the third floor which was the top floor, set between two Victorian homes with meticulously manicured lawns and gardens.
It was the fortuitous placement of the loft that got me interested in more cultivated shots of flowers. I loved sitting on the balcony of our loft in my sweatpants and taking shots of the back yards of my neighbors. I got a great discount on camera supplies as an employee and had an excellent telefoto lens. Within a month, I had two series’ worth of each yard. Once I developed them, I arranged them in portfolios, then went knocking on my neighbors’ doors.
In the house to the left (as looking out from our balcony) was a middle-aged realtor named Rita. Rita was overjoyed to see the photos of her back yard, which was her pride and joy. Rita asked me if I’d be interested in taking some photos of her in her garden to go with the rest. I was not used to taking pictures of people, but it made sense to show the gardener who had put together the symphony of flowers, shrubs, trees, etc. We set a photo shoot date.
In the house to the right lived a couple in their 80s. They also were delighted at the photos and wondered if they could have a portfolio made for them and were willing to pay. They also wanted shots of themselves in the garden. We set a date.
Not only did I make $1,000 between my two neighbors for the photos, I was able to arrange an exhibit at the little gallery down the street and sold a couple hundred dollars’ worth of prints. It struck me that by taking my passion and a little initiative, I was able to begin my business. That was 30 years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Michael is the host of Mindlovemisery Menagerie’s Tale Weaver. Michael says:
This week consider the notion of what we see over our back fences. If you live in a apartment on the upper floors your back fence might be the boundary of your place. Write about your back fence or boundary. It can be specific, it can be metaphorical, or you make up what you’d like to see over your back fence.
As I know there are an amazing number of good photographers out here in Word Press Land, I thought this might be a fun subject to write about. I love taking photos also, so it is a fantasy origin story for myself as well.