I discovered Photography when I was in the throes of trying to find my creative voice in my 20’s. I had really just left home, a very turbulent, disturbed, dysfunctional home. I had jumped into marriage at age 21 and had no idea who the hell I even was. But here I was living on The Presidio, a place that in my opinion is still one of the loveliest areas of San Francisco. As a military wife, at that time, think mid 80’s, we had so many more benefits.There was a community center and one of the classes I signed up for was Beginning Photography and Darkroom Development. It was instant LOVE. I felt safe, secure and worthy. It also gave me another voice. Combined with my writing it gave me the duality I needed for balance.
I admired Ansel Adams and really the idea of taking my camera and a backpack and hiking the wilderness….think WILD, Cheryl Strayed with a Ansel Adams feel to B&W images LONG before Cheryl and Wild even came along and you would have had me. I self-taught after that class and literally wandered the coast taking pictures and reveling in the discovery of the images in the darkroom.
In the course of life, well the growth I needed to take personally had not yet kicked in. I felt unlovable, unworthy and allowed “others” to tell me what I should be doing. I took up a job, full time, with a high class hotel in San Francisco…that catered..to you got it. Celebrities, Dignitaries and High Ranking Government Officials. As you can imagine we had many that came through and I very quickly lost my Star Dusting Admiration. BUT it did give me the opportunity to shoot the film The Presidio when it was made. I still have the original prints and negatives…they were not half bad.
Fast forward to 2009 and I am just starting the journey to self and I began by walking through the door of photography again. This time I bought a digital (btw I still have my Canon AE-1 and she still works great) and took to photography again with fierce passion. I owned a dog boarding and horse boarding facility in the country and all of my images were about the things I love and had in my life at that time. Two horses I adored and a pack of dogs. Images of the Western Lifestyle dominated my portfolio.
Then in 2010 the market crashed and enormous homes with land and personal services that were in a niche market, well they fell and fell hard. I lost everything except my horses (now dead), my dogs ( time has thinned the herd to one- and her time is coming) and my camera. The further I moved forward in finding my authentic self…. the more EVERYTHING changed for me and past love of things came rushing to the front. Music, Writing and Photography and this time I vowed to not let any of them go.
I loved my photography but it was not really fulfilling and I was at a loss as to the what in my life. In 2013, then President of my local Art League encouraged me to enter the Members Art Show. I was hesitant to share my inner personal life. The images I had taken until that point were about my loves and I had not shared them with many. Many who had seen them told me the same things that my instructor in San Francisco had…I should take it up professionally. I overcame the FEAR factor and placed three images in the show in Early 2013 and….two of them won. First and Second. I donated the first prize to a local Domestic Violence Charity auction and a bidding was ensued and so my “first” sale was over $600.00. The second image was of my heart and soul dog Ridge and I just could not bear to sell it. In a way whatever instinct made me keep it, I was grateful for a year later when I had to make the decision to hold onto Ridge for selfish reason or to let him go; I chose to let him go-a decision that hurts me as much today as it did almost a year ago…
It is here that I am going to stop for today.
*PS-Dear Reader- The only favor I ask is that you follow the story, Share if you are so inclined. Know that I am following dreams as you do.