A couple of weeks ago, I was spending my Friday night alone at home.
I got home from work, ate dinner, and played piano for a few hours in a dimly lit room. I didn't produce anything significant. I just played whatever came to me.
After losing track of time and deciding that my fingers were too sore to continue playing, I made the decision to go to bed. As I got up from the piano bench, I glanced to my right and looked at the large bookshelf we have next to the piano. A big colorful book caught my eye.
It was a photo album.
I removed it from the shelf and looked at the front cover adorned with multiple images of Mickey Mouse. I remembered getting it from Disney World when I was six years old and filling it with photos that I captured with my plastic blue Fisher-Price film camera. I opened it up and was surprised by a few of the pictures.
Most of the photos were blurry, poorly lit, and horribly framed, much like any photo taken by a six year old would be. But there were a few that weren't like that. In fact, a handful of photos were pretty sophisticated for someone of that age. Well, as sophisticated as a photo taken with a Fisher-Price camera could be.
What follows are some of my favorites.
This is Patches. She was given to me on my fourth birthday and my family had her for 10 years. Some of my best memories from my childhood revolve around this dog. I can vividly remember how excited she would be to see me when I would arrive home from school or how I wouldn't go to sleep unless she was ready to go to sleep herself (she slept in my room on a dog bed right next to me).
This photo is exactly how I remember Patches. One of her favorite things to do was laze around on the living room floor while always staying alert. She was a typical watchdog.
Eventually, she got sick. My parents kept taking her to the vet and getting her medication in the hopes that she would get better, but she didn't. We took her to the vet one last time to be put down a few weeks before I started my freshman year of high school.
I still miss her.
The techniques used in this photo are ones that I still use today. Both the rule of thirds and the use of negative space are on display here. I had no idea what I was doing back then though. I just thought the photo looked nice. It perfectly summed up one of my best friends.
I took this photo somewhere in Florida while on a family vacation. To this day, my favorite pictures are that of nature, animals, landscapes, etc. I am sometimes referred to as "Nature Josh". Even at six years old I had the same tastes.
I don't exactly remember capturing this image but I can imagine myself waiting for the time to be just right. The two turtles probably had to be right next to each other in order for the picture to "work".
I'm sure I put a lot of thought into this image. I just wish I could remember what those thoughts were!
A selfie attempt. I can still recall turning the camera around and thinking that it would be possible to get a photo of my face.
I was half right.
After my mom got a batch of photos developed for me, I was severely disappointed with this one. I didn't understand why it didn't work.
I still wonder why things don't turn out the way I want them to. Especially when I try my best.
One of the coolest photos I have ever taken.
This is my uncle Joseph, but all of his nieces and nephews know him as "UJ". I took this on Christmas day 1996, the day I received my camera. I had recently seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and that's the vibe I was going for in this one.
Looking at it now, I see a big western influence. The hat is the most obvious, but the way the shot is framed almost looks as if it were a still taken from a Sergio Leone film. My dad was always watching old western movies and TV shows like Bonanza when I was that age and some of those things must have indirectly influenced me.
If you get a chance this week, I suggest you try to find something you made when you were a child. Drawings, writing, photos, really anything. Then go ahead and compare it to who you are now. Do you find more similarities or differences? What do you think was going through your mind back then?
I've always been hesitant in sharing my love of art with others. Mostly because I find that few are interested in it the same way I am or I fear that I'm not as accomplished as they might be.
But I've been taking photos on and off for twenty years now. Anybody who does something for that long obviously has been given a passion for it. Whether others perceive it as "good" or "bad" doesn't matter.
If God's given you a passion go ahead and do it.
Do it to the best of your abilities.