As wedding season quickly approaches, I have found myself reflecting on my life, and how I arrived at this comfy little spot in the world. I have always been a photographer at heart, and knew it would be my career path, but until the last few years I had no idea I would end up a full-blown wedding photographer.
In my younger days I dreamt of being a war photographer. The excitement, travel, and danger really appealed to me. I wanted to take pictures that mattered, that showed people what was really going on in the world. I ventured out with my little Canon 35mm film camera into downtown San Diego, sometimes even south of the border, and captured the homeless. I liked sneaking around with my camera, sometimes getting caught, but most of all I enjoyed capturing the heartbreak and grittiness of it all. Once I was out of high school, I traveled further. I spent lots of time in Peru, mainly. It was easy and cheap for me to go, as my mom traveled there frequently. I also embarked on the token coming of age European backpack trip and had the time of my life. But during my travels in my early twenties I found myself becoming comfortable with familiar travel. I became more and more uncomfortable with situations that would leave me in danger (no back allies for me), and the worst part of it all; I developed a fear of flying. I hate to fly, but love to travel. Not fair! (I blame the fear on the one guy in Mexico fixing a hole in the side of MY plane w/ bubble gum and cardboard- okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration.) Add in a few horrific travel sicknesses, the last one keeping me in bed at the base of Macchu Piccu for 5 days, and I was done.
So you could say war photography was quickly becoming a dream of the past. I could hardly look at war images without shedding a few tears. James Nachtwey is my favorite photographer and is a constant inspiration to me, but how did he get those shots without flying, getting sick, or shot? I don’t know. I challenge you to take a look at his work without cringing; it’s heartbreaking and real.
Fast forward a few years, and I have found myself married, living in the suburbs, and happy. My love for photography has morphed into capturing love instead of war, and I am okay with that. I am more than okay with that, in fact, I love it. I am taking pictures that matter, and it is what is really going on in the world. It just makes me giggle instead of cry, and it still allows me to occasionally sneak around with my camera.
Here is a scan of one of my first homeless shots, taken at the age of 17. (Did it win a blue ribbon at the county fair you ask? Well yes, yes it did)