You've Got a Camera. USE IT!
When I was a kid I spent a good sum of money on disposable cameras. When I went to summer camp or on a school trip, I would always have one ready to go and a backup in my suitcase. Then later when I got into the Marine Corps I was the guy who always had a camera in the cargo pocket of my trousers in the field or on deployment. I probably lost or destroyed more disposable cameras in rain and mud than what I got to develop. Though it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, I knew that one day when I got old and flabby I would want to look back and remember some of these crazy jerks that I knew in my youth. I even came out of it with a few nice shots of me in the prime of my life because I would occasionally let someone else touch my camera. Below is a picture that I had taken after a hurricane in Puerto Rico with a dog that had been following me around in the rubble the whole day. I was 19 years old.
One thing that I learned early is that it is important to take pictures. In 2017 we have absolutely no excuses! I don’t think that I know anyone who lives without instant access to a camera. I would be willing to bet that you are reading this on a device with a camera right now. You have no excuse. It is my understanding that an 8 megapixel digital camera is the equivalent to a 35mm film camera. That is what most phones have!
Please take pictures of your loved ones. You would be shocked to know how often I have people come by my shop and ask me to digitally enhance photos for funerals. Usually it’s because the only picture that their loved one ever had taken in the last 10 years was a bad snap shot with several other people in it and a bad background. Then they always say the same thing to me “So and So hated getting his picture taken”. Well, I can totally understand that, but now “so and so” is gone and their family has no meaningful pictures to remember them by. I’m not saying that people need to get dressed up and pay a photographer to take their photo every 6 months. Use that phone that you have in your pocket and whip it out from time to time during happy moments and snap a picture of them. Get them while they are standing there by themselves at a family function. Get a picture of your mom while she is playing with the grandkids. Snap a picture of your brother and tell him that it’s so you have something to give to the police in case he ever goes missing. Just do it.
And don’t forget to step into some pictures yourself! You may think that you look too old or that you look too fat. Here’s the truth; you may look older and fatter tomorrow! Or perhaps you’ll drop 100 lbs and nobody will believe you because you didn’t get a before picture taken. Do it before it’s too late!
One last thing on this subject… this is to all of you younger folks out there. Do more than selfies. Selfies are all the same picture with different backgrounds. Selfies are the “pop country music” of photography. They aren’t real, and they lack most substance and feeling. Don’t get me wrong here, I do a selfie from time to time too, just like I secretly enjoy a few “bro country” songs about Spring Break. But, if all that I had in my music collection was that pre-manufactured, fake cowboy garbage, I
would have no longer have any will to live. And I know that it’s fun doing the “duck face” or sticking your tongue out, but one day you will get old. One day you will want to show your kids what life was like back in good old 2017. You will whip out your IPhone 95G and show them your pictures (because you never printed anything) and your kids will think that you and everyone that you knew lived in an insane asylum. They will think this because of all of the crazy pictures that you kept taking of yourself with your tongue hanging out. Get out in front of your camera. I know that it feels awkward, but after you do it a few times on a vacation or out with your friends you will get used to it. If you can’t find a kind stranger to take the shot for you, use the timer. Timers are on all cameras and phones and they are easy to use.
I hope that this blog inspires you to get out there and start shooting people (with your camera, of course). I promise you that you will not regret it. Soon I will do a blog on printing and file management. Stay tuned.