Tuesday, January 2, 2018

An accidental photographer

A number of years ago, I studied journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. I had applied to a variety of graduate schools to study either journalism or creative writing. I chose journalism, although my heart was in creative writing.

Once I was in journalism school, I was happy with my choice, for the most part. I had to decide a specialty within the journalism field. After my first semester, I discovered the career that I most dearly wanted: film critic. I love going to movies and becoming a part of the world as presented on the screen. I couldn't imagine a better career than spending hours in the movie theater and then writing reviews of the movies.

There were a few things that I ruled out, which included advertising (because I was far too shy to try to sell ads over the phone or even in person), investigative reporting (because it just seemed too difficult and analytical for me), and public relations. But, most of all, I did not want to be a photographer. I did not want to carry around a large and heavy camera since I didn't have a car. I didn't want to learn how to use film and I most definitely did not want to attempt to develop my own photographs.

So I did not become a photographer.

Unfortunately, I also did not become a film critic. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to review live theater, which I truly enjoyed. Oddly enough, despite my antipathy for being a photographer, I have the opportunity to review photography exhibits, as well as other types of visual arts.

When I became a freelance reporter for the Island Dispatch, I was told that I had to take all of my own photographs. Having someone else assigned to take pictures to go with my stories was not going to happen. I dutifully bought a disposable camera and took a whole bunch of photographs. I started turning in photographs with my articles. My editor told me that she really liked the photographs. I was very surprised because I had never had any training in photography. Apparently, the classes that I had been taking in drawing and painting were helping me as a photographer.

Eventually, I bought a digital camera. The camera was small and fit into a pocket. I didn't have to get the photographs developed if I didn't like them. I began photographing virtually everything that I saw: scenery, people, food, my own artwork, other people's artwork, the cats, and more. One digital camera had taken me from a photo-phobe to a photo-maniac.

My photographs now appear frequently in the newspaper and here in my blog. I have become fascinated with the art of photography as a way of capturing and sharing the essence of other people and of the world in which I live. Although I never chose photograph, it may very well have chosen me. I am very happy that I have become an accidental photographer.

10 comments:

Di Hill said...

Love your story. I love taking photos too - especially of my travels. Good for blogging too.
Lucky to be able to make a career of photography.

Alana said...

So many things in life come by accident. Or just being in the right place at the right time - being around when the digital camera (and the cellphone camera) were invented. It certainly made my interest in photography bloom!

Rachel Kestner said...

I love the pictures that go with your writing. My mom took photography classes as well as several other art classes and I agree that several things learned from painting and drawing do carry over.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Isn't it strange how life brings us the full circle? But we're blessed to have the opportunity, the passion and the means to pursue what we love. You're story is so inspirational.
May your 2018 be blessed with love and creativity, Alice.

SHANAYA TALES said...

It was wonderful to read your story. Very few people get to follow their passion in the way you do. And it shows in your photographs. :)

Jeanine Byers said...

What an artist you are! Love those pictures. And what a neat story! It's so cool that you became an accidental photographer. Must have been meant to be.

Jen said...

I also became an accidental photographer. I was the social media specialist at a community art school and had to take my own photos for their various social media platforms. I loved it, but eventually decided not to pursue it as a career or even a sideline.

Shilpa Gupte said...

This was wonderful, Alice! Often the things we do not choose or like, choose us when we least expect it! I too have begun enjoying photography since I began posting on Instagram regularly for some of other photography challenge. It's fun clicking pictures with a phone camera and then filter them, edit them and share with the world! :)

Cerebrations.biz said...

Funny.
I didn't want to be an editor or even a writer, so I elected to become the photographer for my K-9 yearbook. Except...
I didn't own a camera. So, I bought one, learned how to develop film (B&W AND Color) and had a great time. To become an editor of several journals and publications (among my many careers over the years...NEVER a photographer.)

tulika singh said...

That's really sweet - about photography choosing you despite you not thinking about it. During my reporting days we'd always be accompanied by a photographer. In fact the photographers quite resented it if we took our own pictures and the editor would be reluctant to give us credit. That was rather mean i thought. So you were fortunate to have been pushed into it.
Wishing you a happy and productive new year. May you continue to discover new talents.