Although this process was devastating to a teenage girl, there were some bright spots that have, in a way, changed my life forever. The one photographic bright spot was the Minolta 35mm camera that my father had found in the lab that they hadn't used in years. Apparently, someone had literally put on the lens upside down. I know...impressive, right? Not only is it impressive that someone managed to actually force the lens on upside down, but that caused the people in the lab not to use it for decades; subsequently putting it in the trash pile when the time came. I'm forever thankful my father saved that camera and its lenses for me.
That Minolta was my first true 35mm camera.
And with that 35mm camera came the lenses that the scientists used in the lab to take macro photography of various things. As soon as my father managed to wrench the lens off the camera, I fell instantly in love with what I could do. He explained the basics of the aperture and shutter speed settings to me, told me not to touch the ISO at the moment and said, "Go experiment".
I took photographs of EVERYTHING close up. It got to a point where I was actually kind of wasting film (and money) but I couldn't stop.
The first photographs that I took that were really SOMETHING and showed my family and myself that I could really become a photographer were photographs of the flowers (and one GIANT weed my Mom and I thought was a flower...literally as tall as our front porch) that were around our house on Ridgewood Drive and also around our second family's home on Moccasin Lane. These photographs I was beyond proud of. I couldn't believe I was able to create something as amazing as that with a film camera. One of these days I'll have to scan a few and share. For a girl who taught herself how to use a 35mm camera...they were gold.
As many of you know, it has been a long time since I have been consistently proud with the photographic work that I have done. Now, this doesn't count the MustacheMachine & BlackBetty work, and I do realize that is my work as well, but what I mean is the other photographic work I do.
So, one day, MustacheMachine and I were sitting outside, and I was explaining my utter lack of creative drive and how I used to be so proud of my work, and haven't been in so long, and he held up a leaf and then some radish flowers and said, "Well, why not go and shoot this?".
At first, I thought he was silly. And then, after some liquid encouragement, and me getting so frustrated with myself, I marched over, grabbed the "weeds" he had said I should photograph and went upstairs and got to work.
What I found has been gaming changing for me. I'm now proud of my work again.
Are the images similar to what I first started photographing when I received that Minolta camera? No, but the idea and the feeling is the same. I'm photographing nature and exploring the differences one sees with plants when photographed at a normal focal length and then also at a macro focal length. Many of the plants you will see in the first handful of photographs are dead. Now, some may say that this is some subconscious thing playing out in my artwork, and that may be true, but let me tell ya...the one great thing about being an artist is you can find the beauty in so many things. Including those sunflowers and roses that you received after a long trip of being away from the one you love the most.
I hope you enjoy the work that you have seen throughout this post and the days to come.