Personal Photography Throwbacks

I did this thing called “graduating college,” which means I have to move on to the adult world. My goal for the summer is to organize all my crap stuff and get rid of things, so I’ve been exploring boxes I haven’t looked in for years. Like, since high school.

So I came across one of those boxes today, and I found a crap ton of photos. I sorted through them and found some relevant gems to share.

Apparently, I was practicing to be a photographer when I was 11.

My clique.

I must have had one of those Kodak cameras, the throwaway kind, because the flash on these are horrendous.

This was also around the time I was an aspiring teddy-bear fashion designer.

I vaguely remember taking these photos. Especially the ones with the teddy bear fabric in the background. I thought I was being creative– who knew I was actually practicing patterns?

Photograph me like one of your french girls.

I was a cute kid, what can I say? I was even ahead of my time, with my harsh flash combined with out of focus, “atmospheric” pictures. 10 years ahead of the fashion photo trends– take that, vogue.

As seen in an Urban Outfitters catalog.

So, those were entertaining. I also found a stack of photos from when I first got my trusty DSLR. I got in 11th grade for my birthday/Christmas, and I wanted to go downtown to take photographs with it. So, since I was the birthday queen, we did. I remember I was shooting for a homework assignment in my digital photography class, all about reflections. So I did some of that. And, of course, took the usual photos of Hart Plaza that everyone else takes.

Of course, I added my signature rainbow. Because duh.

If I remember correctly, this was the first photo I took with my camera (or at least the first one I liked?)

Thanks for leaving your screwdriver around, dad!

Shortly after, I did my first shoot with my dear friend Allie, who was my first model, and she continues to pose for me today. But, check out these early gems:

We’ve come a long way, Allie my dear.

But I’m not done reminiscing yet. I found some real gems in this box. Like the time I was planning my Cirque du Dement shoot, which was the first project that took extensive planning, people, sets, costumes… It was my first constructed series, so it’s kinda responsible for all of the other intense photo shoots I’ve done.

But, apparently, I was really into the planning process. So much so, I got into character to demonstrate what I wanted, so my best friend could plan the make up for the shoots– at least I think that’s what it was for. Really I’m just justifying my weirdness but whatever– I was the coolest kid on the block.

I’m glad that my creative process has evolved beyond, uh, this.

In my defense, this was the result:

Ah yes, the days of vibrant saturation and high contrast.

That was the breakthrough for me. Constructing images made photography even more exciting for me, but I wasn’t going to pursue it as a career or anything (joke is on 17-year old me!) However, I did submit my senior portfolio to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and I won Best in Show for the entire county. Not gonna lie, that changed things.

“Maybe I’m awesome at this?”

That was the first time I won an award for my photography. Later that school year I would receive other acknowledgements, and it made me feel good. It was something that came natural to me, unlike all my other interests, which I felt I had to put in a lot of effort to be decent at them. But, I was in denial, I was gonna be an aeronautical engineer, then I wanted to be an archaeologist, and then I settled on studying English in college.

And then I added my art degree. And here I am, seven years after my first photography class, getting ready to earn my MFA in Photography in the fall. How neat is that?

I think it’s important to look back every now and then, to see just how far you’ve come. When you get stuck, or you feel like you’re  not any good, take a look at some old work you did– when you’re done cringing, you’ll feel good about your progress, I promise you.

So, go reminisce for a little while. Then go make something new!

Happy Shooting!

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