I get this question a lot, and I understand why. To most people, I’ve always been a writer. As an introvert, writing has always been my go-to method of self-expression. At age nine, I wrote an embarrassingly awful poem about dogs that was published in my school district’s creative writing magazine. At age 11, I wrote my first short story, which my fifth-grade teacher read aloud to the class, simultaneously mortifying and motivating me. I kept at it through middle and high school, and by the time I got to college, I had decided to make writing my career. To most people who know me, I’ve always been a writer, so when I scaled back on it to pursue photography, some were…confused.
Photography hasn’t taken center stage in my life the way writing has, but it has always been there. As a child in the ‘80s, I used Polaroid cameras to catalog my massive stuffed animal collection. In the ‘90s, I bought disposable cameras in bulk and documented my teenage years from every possible angle (even the unflattering ones). In the 2000s, I enrolled in a black-and-white film class for one of my college electives. I bought a Pentax, learned how to shoot in manual and fell in love with the darkroom, a place where the outside world faded away as I developed my own filtered view of the world through my images. It was meditative, therapeutic and completely thrilling.
When I graduated college, digital photography was still fairly new. Because I’m stubborn, I was hesitant to make the switch from film to pixels. Leaving college also meant losing access to a darkroom and the thrill of developing my own images. Handing my film to the one-hour counter guy didn’t exactly have the same impact, so I set down my camera, picked up my pen and began my career in professional copywriting.
I’d reunite with my camera every now and then for events like zoo trips or vacations, but I always put the camera away at the end of the day.
That all changed when smartphones entered the picture. With a digital camera constantly on hand, I began regularly snapping photos again. At first, I took snapshots of my family. Before long, I found myself pulling over to the side of the road to capture a painterly sunset or a colorful bed of flowers. I was so inspired by the beautiful sights in nature and grew passionate about capturing them all. Not wanting to annoy my Instagram friends with my new collection of nature photos, I launched a separate account for my iPhone photography.
While I loved the convenience of shooting on my phone, I quickly wanted to learn how to do more with the camera. I grabbed my husband's DSLR, enrolled in online photography classes and relearned how to shoot in manual and “develop” images in Lightroom and Photoshop. That thrilling feeling of capturing and developing a great image returned, and I’ve been shooting every day since.
So yep, I’m a photographer. I’m also still a writer. And a mom, a Bravo TV junkie, a voracious reader and a total goofball. Thankfully, we can be more than one thing in this world, and I feel lucky to have discovered not one but two passions. I'll never give up writing, but I'm finally letting my love of photography share the spotlight. Sometimes, an image just says so much more. I hope you’ll follow along as I continue exploring the world through my lens.