Freedom Behind The Lens

May 18, 2017

My high school offered photography as an art class. My senior year, I signed up. As a typical senior, I instantly regretted it on day one. (Being a senior with a full load of classes? LOSER.) I could never leave school early like “cool” seniors, and I just craved a break between the final bell and the start of whatever sport I had practice for that time of year. Second day of class, I asked Mr. Olson, the art teacher, to sign my “drop/add” form.

As an art teacher, I’m sure he’s signed a lot of these forms. No offense, people, but art is an ELECTIVE. Yet I was still left dumbstruck by his reaction when I handed him my form. First of all, he wasn’t signing it, just looking at it. (I mean, people were walking into the class and I was in practice gear, hurry up!) Pen hovering over the form — and my face turning red — guess what he said to me? And I quote, “Are you just dropping this class to have a free open period at the end of the day?”

My seventeen-year-old self: DUDE, LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!

I got my free period that quarter, but now I’ve just regretted it ever since. I always wished I had taken that photography class.

As a kid, I loved photos — being in them, of course, and getting my grubby little fingers all over my mom’s Minolta. I would lose my MIND whenever she came home with black-and-white prints, like it was the coolest thing to happen to anything ever.

Now, I have my first DSLR camera. Whoa, baby. Game-changer. I’m learning as I go. Regardless of my experience, I’ve noticed an entirely new side to myself when I’m behind the lens. I feel different. Fearless in my own world. All that exists is me and whatever it is in my viewfinder. I’m free to explore!

I take any excuse I get to use it, and luckily I have some amazing people in my life who humor me and let me get in their child’s face, or let me go off to climb on a big rock in the middle of the desert for (what I think is) a cool shot. Here are some of my favorite shots so far. Enjoy!

Title: “‘Hey, you!’ Get down from there.” (Joshua Tree, CA)

Untitled because I just cannot.

Title: “Supes Zen” (Joshua Tree, CA)

Title: “NOLA brass band makes my day” (Jackson Square, LA)

Title: “Plz don’t look at me when I eat.” (St. Paul, MN)

Title: “That Chamillionaire song from ‘00s is now in your head” (St. Paul, MN)

Title: “Paradise” (Cathedral City, CA)