You know those moments in the past you reflect back on when you’re older, and some say wiser, and you wish you would have stuck with a hobby, because who knows where you would be if you had? Well, apart from skateboarding, I’m now realizing photography should be added to that list. Pictures taken are moments captured in history. There will never be one picture that is the exact same as another and that’s what makes photography exciting. You’re in total control of capturing the next greatest moment in history to showcase to whomever you want, whether it’s at an art show, as a gift to someone in your family, or even just on Instagram (manny__iii – two underscores, if you were wondering =D).
When I was a sophomore…or was it junior-year? Shit, I’m getting old. When I was a sophnior in high school, I took an introduction to photography class. We learned the ins-and-outs of taking photos, the cameras themselves, lighting, working in a darkroom, etc. I was probably seen as one of the worst students in the class to my teacher, and an annoyance to my parents now that I think of it (explained later). It wasn’t because I was a bad kid who talked back or anything like that. It was because I didn’t put a lot of effort into it and procrastinated way too much (typical high schooler antics). It was an elective class, and I was on the varsity baseball team, with sights set on playing in college (boy were those sights blurred), so why would I need to focus on an elective class? God, if I could punch that sophnior in the face right now I would.
I can recall countless nights getting home from baseball practice and remembering I had a photo project that was due the following day. I’d go get my camera only to realize I had no film. “Mommmmmm…will you take me to go get film for a project that’s due tomorrow?” (This just made me realize I was a sophomore, because I couldn’t drive). Notice how I left out the fact the project was assigned a week and a half ago, but I eventually confessed during the 30-minute drive to Penn Camera (remember those places? God rest their soul). We’d get back from the deceased and I would take lame pictures of objects around the house, like lamps, clocks, and doorknobs. I pretty much set myself up for questioning from my teacher the next day. “Manny, when did you take these pictures?” “Ummm…errr…photosynthesis?” At least it has the word “photo” in it. Good job, kid.
My lack of interest in the class at the time still blows my mind. The first project we had in class was creating a pinhole camera out of an oatmeal box, for christ sakes. “I just ate my breakfast out of this box this morning, and NOW I’M TAKING PICTURES OF MY TEACHERS LEXUS IS350 WITH IT?! ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!” It was perhaps the coolest project I ever did in high school, and 15year-old me was too blind to see the potential photography entailed.
Other projects we had consisted of creating fake magazine covers (Mom’s beamer in the driveway), manually color-splashing photos (shed in the backyard), and this project where we cut two photos in 10-15 strips and pasted them on paper we had folded like fans, so if you were to angle your head one way you’d see one picture and angle it the other to see the second photo (kinda hard to explain, but I used my dads convertible with the top up and down). Are you sensing a pattern at the photo’s I took? I pretty much set myself up for procrastination, knowing that my subjects were literally right outside my door. Other kids in my class actually planned out certain locations to shoot at, and sometimes even had a friend model for them. Me? No need to plan anything out, I’ll just take a picture of my mom’s flowerbed in the backyard. Worst. Student. Ever.
Anyways, enough sobbing about the past. Almost ten years later and all that hard work has gone down the drain, to the water treatment plant, and studied by H2Ologists to be used as electricity for their iPhone chargers. What’s that? There aren’t such things as H2Ologists who charge their iPhones with water? Well, guess what? High school me made a camera OUT OF AN OATMEAL BOX IN 2005! It’s now 2015. Don’t doubt what the human-race can do in 2015. Come on, guys, use your head. After recently purchasing a new camera right before my trip to Iceland I’ve had to re-teach myself what high school Manny flushed down the toilet. But, seeing as how I’m unemployed at the moment, the learning is keeping me hungry to get better, so I guess it worked out.
I’m now at a stage where I’m obsessed with photography. I think my obsession stems from the fact I can relate photography to skateboarding. Both hobbies require a creative eye and patience; both hobbies will make the everyday stranger you pass on the street stop and take another look at what you’re doing; both hobbies are ways to escape from reality and put my mind at ease. But, perhaps the greatest thing photography and skateboarding have in common is that it makes you get up and get out of the house. There’s nothing better than exploring the world around you in my mind, and, when the time and money permits, the world outside of your comfort zone. Why not purchase a camera, familiarize yourself with it, and document those captured moments for eternity? Trust me, you’ll wish you did.