Sunday, June 15, 2008

I, Shutterbug

A love of photography seems to run straight down my dad's side of the family. When I was a toddler, my dad was always taking home movies of drag racing, or family gatherings, or just pudgy little me ambling about the apartment on Super-8. When he was off on business trips, he often covered his international travels with his trusty stereo camera, which produced overlapping shots that had to be framed on white cardboard and then viewed through a kind of battery-powered binocular View Master device to achieve the desired 3-D effect (using that thing was kind of like taking the visual test when you renew your driver's license).

Over the last few years, Dad has been out and about with his new super-modded digital camera (with rocking lens attachments), taking increasingly sophisticated pictures to the extent that for a while you were likely get more hits off of his archived amateur photography than my archived professional writing if you ran a Google search on our common name.

Meanwhile, for as long as I've known him, my uncle Kevin has made his living doing personal or corporate photo shoots, either freelancing back when I was a kid or from his own studio which he's worked out of for the last twenty-five years. In 1985, I spent a summer working alongside him, both at his professional studio and in the cramped, dank darkroom he created in my grandmother's basement. At the time, I found some aspects of photography of interest, but overall I never caught the bug. One reason is I hadn't taken into account the sheer amount of grunt work that went into setting up a professional shoot, which seemed to leech a lot of the glamour out of the job. The technology of the era probably didn't endear me to the job, either: working with darkroom chemicals is stinky and time-consuming and easy for someone as graceless as me to completely screw up. There was also my near-crippling obessesion with music that was a constant distraction for me: I spent far more time diving into the mystique of New Order than, say, studying for school or daydreaming of a career behind the lens. Put it this way: the high points of my brief apprenticeship with my uncle was a trip to a local radio station and the acquisition of my own Sony Walkman with the earnings I had accrued. I think you can see where my priorities were.

I'd messed around off and on with Sarah's old digital camera when she owned one, but it was the acquisition of a far more advanced model of my own back in March that has awakened the genetic-level shutterbug that must have been dormant in me since birth. I've been constantly reaching for the camera (or wishing I had it handy) over the last couple of months, and the volume of images on my hard drive has reached the point where I recently opened a Flickr account to host some of the better shots I've been getting since starting up my new hobby. In the future, I'll be linking from this blog to new photography sets of days out and about, baseball games, local scenery, or even subject themes as they are assembled. Hope you like 'em.

No comments: