I picked up my first serious camera over 45 years ago. For the next 22 years after that I shot in film and transparency, mostly Kodachrome, mostly as an enthusiast if still a hobbyist minus the couple years I actually shot for a daily paper. Then I stopped. It had become too expensive. Besides, I had boxes of slides and negatives, many of which I thought were great but what good were they. I stayed stopped for about four years. Then I was gifted my first digital camera, a 2.0-megapixel Kodak. For the next two years I shot mostly family photos – what else could I do. Then I discovered digital manipulation - Photoshop. Seventeen years ago I began creating my first work that I consider legitimate photo art. Twelve years ago I began distributing my work via friends and social media. Seven years ago I began devoting more and more time to creating art. Five years ago I began treating art like a second job and sold my first works. A little over two years ago I began exhibiting in galleries.
What if that I had harnessed that creativity earlier?
It’s an irrelevant question. In the first place, for most of this time I was being creative trying to write novels (and getting nowhere). Plus, the tools I really needed to create modern photo art didn’t become available until the late 90’s. If I hadn’t lived the life I’ve led, if I hadn’t taken the steps that led to ‘now’, I wouldn’t be creating the work I am, and I wouldn’t have the life I have. (Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to be less of a jerk over the years – I just wouldn’t trade the life I’ve built).
My point is not myself, but everyone else – you, even. If my best art was dormant most of my life, and given than I consider myself roughly average, then what incredible art is out there, hidden in perhaps the humblest and most unassuming people, just waiting for the right sparks to emerge? Who among us can spark the best in others?
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.