the gathering

I come away from the last three days of hearing the stories, advice, and words of guidance with new energy.

the reason I picked up a camera (as a child), was to save memories. to continue to add to the collection of images my parents had created. boxes and books of prints that I could spend hours on my bed looking at, studying, thinking about “that time when….”.

the day photo’s of my great-great relatives where found in Houston after my grandmothers funeral was amazing for me. it was a window into another time, another place when life was very different for African Americans. without those photographs I would not have been able to be a witness or experience it in a small distant way.

photographs have a power – the power to make you stop and think. to reflect, to appreciate beauty, simplicity, the harsh reality of a time period, the human connection, the grand-ness of this planet. nothing else can visually stop time, tell a story in a fraction of a second, tell the truth or fabricate the authenticity of a moment.

the last three days showed me that real photography still exists. that it is hard work, that it can take you places you’d never dream, that there is longevity, and critical thinking, and a way to find your place in it all. I think we are in the midst of change in the industry, an evolution of sorts. the ease of access to cameras (dslr, film, phone) has created a new population of photographers. new digital mediums to share the day-to-day images that will someday become the digital memories that I used to daydream about in the boxes and books of prints are abundant. my advice — don’t forget to print those memories.

though six critiques I learned my work has a place. it may have been very different from the other attendee’s, but it has substance. I learned that the journey ahead of me will come with lots of ebbs and flows – moments of doubt, and joy. I learned that shooting what I love, what I care most about, and shooting it from inside me will make it mine. I learned that opinions matter, but my vision is what will sustain me.  honing in on that vision and shooting it until it feels right is my mission.

I have a story to tell. it’s my story, but I also think it’s everyone’s story. photography is the tool I use to tell it. photography is still my way of saving memories. it is how I document that I was here. that is why I pick up a camera today.


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