Monday, March 21, 2011

Fields of Green Photography

It's finally up.

The photography website I worked on for weeks is finally up and running.

I grew up in a very artistic family.  The running joke growing up (and still to this day) in our family was, "Mama could paint that!"  My mom could make anything beautiful, and she did.  She still does. Wait till I finally get around to sharing pictures of the baby's nursery! She hand painted birds, bunnies, squirrels and insects in the backyard-themed bedroom my sister and I shared, then painted me a cat-themed room when we were old enough for our own rooms.  (Leave me alone.  I was 10 and I loved cats, so what?)  She had a decorative painting business with a friend for years.  Have you ever heard of a business closing their doors because they were too busy?  Well, now you have.

My sister draws and paints, or used to anyway.  Her drawings are beautiful.  She went through a Sailor Moon phase in fourth grade where all she drew were Japanese superheroines.  (Leave her alone.  She was 9 and her best friend was from Japan, so what?)  I hope someday she'll illustrate children's books.

The painting and drawing run in the family.  My mom has some beautiful paintings and drawings hanging in our house done by her great-great-aunt.  Somehow though, that gene skipped me.  I was always creative and crafty, sure, but never could I draw or paint anything more than a stick figure.  I would make collages and decoupage boxes and such, because I loved arranging images that were already there. 

Then I got to high school, and I discovered that while my painting left something to be desired, I could take photographs.

I loved it.  I loved going out by myself and shooting with the ancient, school-issued SLRs.  I loved the smell of the darkroom.  I loved the I loved the quiet in the photo room while everyone created.  I loved my teacher, who loved horses as much as I loved them.  I loved when my mom framed some of my prints and hung them around the living room doorway, where they still hang to this day.  I loved when I had a few inquires from friends' parents about purchasing my prints, and I loved that I loved them too much to part with them.

In college, I was sans darkroom and it made me sad.  The rise of digital had just begun, and I was adamantly opposed.  "REAL photography isn't digital!" I declared.  I bought a used Rebel (a SLR, NOT digital!) and had fun photographing here and there.  I even took it with me to Italy my sophomore year.  I mounted prints and displayed them here and there and even won a few "prizes" at the fair.  But finally I broke down, and I got my first digital camera my junior year. 

It drove me crazy.  I hated how little control I had, and while it was convenient for those fun college-era shots, it was not useful for art.  Still, it served a great purpose for what it was, and my hobby was on hold until finally I got my little workhorse dSLR Pentax k2000 from Craigslist in May 2009.  It took a lot to understand it and work on it, time that I didn't always have, but I had fun making images of my niece.  I didn't share much of what I took, because no one is really that interested in pictures of my parents' farm. 

But, to quote William Goldman, then came Waverly.  Then came the staying home with my baby, the perfect subject matter, then came the chance to take pictures and practice whenever I wanted.  Then came that wonderful facebook button in iphoto that lets me quickly show my friends how that baby girl is growing and changing.  I feel like I have my "thing" back.  Photography was my thing, and I loved it.  Now it's mine again.  Preserving the memories of my family and others' families in a way that is beautiful makes my heart full. 

I never in a million years would have tried to do this if it weren't for the encouragement of my sweet friend Emily.  She was so sensible, kind and helpful.  And remember how I said that artistic ability runs in my family?  Well, I forgot to mention that my-mom-the-painter is also my-mom-the-photographer.  She's studied photography for years, until her beloved baby of a camera was accidentally left behind in a taxi in San Francisco and hasn't been seen or heard from since.  It devastated her, and she was very hesitant to venture into the digital realm for a replacement.  So, she waited.  And waited.  Until finally, we beat her into submission by having my dad just buy her a camera she now loves.  She's back in business, baby.

Literally.  With me.

Internet, meet Fields of Green Photography.   


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