Saturday, May 13, 2006

What Is Your Passion?

Originally uploaded by katzeye.
I'm talking about the passion that you probably discovered while very young.

Mine was photography. I always had funky little cameras, like a Brownie, or an Instamatic. I took lots and lots of B&W photos.

Even as a little kid, I remember watching adults line us up in rows, against a wall or whatever, our faces squinting in the bright sun, in order to shoot us firing squad style-and I remember thinking, "Is this the only way that it can be done?"

I recall trying, often with great frustration, to record things differently, because, I guess, I saw things differently. I would get down on the grass and shoot up, or climb up into a tree and shoot down. I would get up close to an anthill or my brothers' ears or the stitching on my beloved jeans (called dungarees by most in the 50s but I called them blue jeans even then and they were my favorite thing to wear).

I tried to photograph the lemon I had just picked from the tree and cut in half because I thought it was beautiful.

The equipment was limited, but it did not deter me. In college, I majored in fine arts and psychology, and spent five years there completing the requirements for a double major. THEN, when I had my first baby, put away the oil paints (all those dangerous oils and things sitting around). My husband got me my first 35 mm SLR, and I am forever grateful! It was completely manual, and I read the little instruction book from cover to cover one afternoon in the bathtub (not sure how I found the time, since I had a hungry newborn).

My first shoot was walking around the Rose Parade grounds the day before the parade. I was feeling a little clueless, not sure if I was getting all of my aperture and shutter speed settings right, but I pressed forward with courage.

The first photo I ever sold to a magazine came from that first roll of film. The next three or four money-making shots came from the roll after that. I am certain it was my five years learning to draw and paint that assisted in my eye, but it was also, for sure, my PASSION.

I worked in photography from then on: child portraiture, weddings, magazines and newspapers, and documented my kids as they grew.

In the 90s and early 00s I let it take a back seat a bit. It was largely due to the high costs of film and processing. I did not quit entirely, and always had two cameras loaded and ready to go at all times, and processed a roll or two about once every two months (eesh, at about the same rate that I give in and get a hair cut---see hair cut entry below, if you are so inclined). BUT, it became more of a hobby or avocation, on the side, after work, etc.

Now that my kids are grown, the stirrings have been coming back. Not the hobby-ish stirrings, but the passion stirrings.

Last year, Mark gave me a portion of the tax refund and told me to use it where I wanted. I set it aside to wait for a particular digital SLR that would come out in June. Happy was the day that I uploaded my first set of photos from that camera. I was back in the game. And, indeed, the very next month I was on assignment to cover a major event over the period of nearly three months. Photos from that will come out next month in a magazine.

All of the time I was not photographing as a passion, I was writing as a passion (and published several books, and presently work as a writer and editor for some publishing companies). I still like to write, and have story ideas all of the time. I guess for me the primary passion is to be able to observe life from different angles and to create what I see into a form wherein I can show others. I often have a big camera in my bag, and wish I had a keychain camera, a botton camera, a phone camera, a credit-card camera, a camera sugically placed in my eye, and If I should go blind, I will spend the remainder of my days as a teller of stories, and paint pictures with words. But I hope and pray to always have my eyes because my ultimate passion is with all things visual.

SOooooo...what is YOUR passion? Feel free to wax poetic! Ramble on to your heart's content! I can't wait to hear!


old man said...

I discovered my passion quite late in life. I have always played guitar and found it to be a great release, but playing guitar solo and playing in a band are like looking at pictures of Disneyland as a kid versus being able to go on the rides live. I had played basketball for four or five years in a city league before picking up a guitar at a summer party and watching my team turn in unison in stunned disbelief. They had been playing music together for years. Looking back at our first attempts it could be said we made noise, lots of it. We explored all the sounds our little amps could distort. Monday night basketball suddenly had an exclamation point of playing music. Our first two chord jams could go for an hour before we would burn out and go onto another two chord jam. Then we expanded to better guitars, pricier amps, downloaded song tabs to play actual covers, and fortunately our lead guitarist could hear a note out of place, a drum beat mis applied and encourage us to get it right. After learning about 500 songs over several years we played live one night in Hermosa Beach at the Lighthouse for a friends birthday party. We were hooked. We practiced more, got a steady gig at a nearby bar, learned to entertain as opposed to playing music, and always on Mondays and Thursdays practiced more. We had always recorded our practice sessions to hear all the mistakes, a necessary medicine. Then we found out how easy digital recording in eight tracks could be with the right equipment. Then taking the time to learn how to master our recordings and making them commercially palatable. But behind all the great equipment, songs, and hard work are a bunch of guys who love music. Getting it right sounds so sweet. We no longer play basketball even though we have won several championships in the geezer league. We do love to watch youngsters from the stage as we rip a Zeppelin or a Nirvana or Chili Peppers song knowing we've done this for years, thats why it sounds so good. Nothing like seeing your grandfatherly types play it as good as the original. Music has such a unique ability to be perfected. A painter never gets the chance to do his masterpiece over and over, a musician is never satisfied with the latest recording, he just goes back, turns a few knobs, tweaks a few passages, leaves little spaces here and there to allow another instrument to come through the mix and takes each of these precious moments to stage with him to shine.

kat said...

Thanks Old Man, what a neat story. I enjoyed reading this.

K.H. said...

I find it so sad and crazy that right after you posted the passion entry, that your camera and lenses were stolen! Life is like that. Do post the first photos of you new camera when that happens! And it will happen, take heart.

KC said...

Your comment touched me. Thanks for the encouragement!

Lindsay said...

"Getting it right sounds so sweet." That's a great line!!!