I did not pick up a camera until 10th grade, and even then I did so reluctantly, actually to fulfill the fine arts requirement. Since I realized mid-summer that I needed fine arts credits in order to graduate, I could either take photography or acting. I choose photography.
As soon as I began shooting, I was in love. The thing that I love the most about photography is the ability that it gives the artist to control their environment and learn how to focus on the things that are beautiful. I feel like a treasure hunter when I shoot. I am finding the beauty on my home planet. I am not creating it, for it is already there. I am simply finding and capturing it for all to enjoy.
This idea that photography captures beauty that already exists carried me through some rough times. When my ocd picked up and I couldn’t really read, I turned to photography to get out of the prison of anxiety that my mind had created. With photography, I was given a new mind set. I was able to put down all my intrusive thoughts and simply find beauty in a way that I hadn’t been able to do for a very long time. My photos became my anchor, the thing that reminded me when things were tough that there was still beauty. “look, you were able to find beauty here. it still exists,” my photos would say to me. “there is a world outside of your mind.”
to say that photography cured my ocd would be a huge overstatement, but i think it would be fair to say that it helped me realize why I needed to get better. When I was so trapped in my mind, everything that I saw was distorted. Things that were harmless to others, my mind turned into things that would surely kill me. All the words that I saw were simply more things that needed to be counted. But with photography, I was granted a new brain, in a way. When you are handed a camera, there is a sort of unspoken demand: you will use this to find beauty. you will use this to show emotion. you will use this to move people.
Soon, those demands that came along with being handed a camera seeped into my life. You will find beauty. You will show emotion. You will move people.