When I was younger, very much younger, I had a difficult time with reading and hearing. I often had to stare endlessly at the picture associated with what someone was reading to me or if I was trying to read on my own. I took in the details of the photo and plugged it in with what I heard. I often made up my own version of the story. Over time my reading abilities improved but I still relied on the detail of the pictures to help me comprehend the essence of the story.
I turned 19 once upon a time and I acquired a camera with great aspirations of becoming a photojournalist. Although I learned the art of lighting, composing and seeking out that “one” picture, I remain a photo-hobbyist. The photo is greatly appreciated throughout most of civilization and there was a time when one photo of a loved one would sustain the viewer for years and years. I grew up with dreams of travel spawned by the incredible images from National Geographic. My friend’s parents collected National Geographic as an alternative to television, of which they had none. I spent hours and hours looking at the images from all corners of the world. I dreamed I could experience every image, be a part of every image, and capture new images to be placed into those very same pages.
I have grown since then, as we all do, but my love of a photograph continues to grow and grow. I have a better understanding now of how one photo in 1895 could sustain the viewer for so long. Now in the middle range of my life, I am still considered a novice. But the passion is still there, the desire is still there and more time has arrived to dedicate to the hobby.
I discovered the Cookeville Camera Club one month after moving to this area. It was on a night during the Putnam County Fair when I met two much-loved members of the club Bettye and Donnie. I was enjoying the photo exhibit which I have done at every fair I have ever been to since that distant year when I was 19. The club is comprised of novice photographers to exceptional professional photographers, with every level in between. The club has a goal – to encourage, educate and to increase one’s desire to take a photo. Joining the club keeps me thinking and learning about the community around me. I have learned new skills and met passionate photographers.
The photographic memory that I seek is merely a way to document the things around me, the things that interest me, and the images that could possibly tell a story. My desire to develop skills as a photographer is about being creative, about learning new skills, and about creating a challenge to overcome. Along the way I hope to share images that elicits a smile, a laugh, a conversation or a fond memory for the viewer.
I encourage you as the reader to consider picking up the hobby and to consider joining the Cookeville Camera Club (www. cookevillecameraclub.com). You may learn how to maximize the images you take or you may find the challenge of learning how to tweak a digital photo into a work of art satisfying and vastly enjoyable. You may learn how to capture an image that could be the “one”. On your journey you may open your eyes to everything around you and quite possibly have fun.