Thursday, February 24, 2011

My story

I was cleaning out a closet in a bedroom this past weekend and came across a couple boxes of old family photos. The kids had taken them out one night over the holidays to show P, J's girlfriend, and they must have gotten shoved into a closet upstairs, instead of put away in the proper box.

When I found them, I was in the midst of cleaning for some guests that were coming to stay for a few days. I didn't really have time to look at them. But the photos were all askew and I thought I should straighten them out before packing them away. 

That's all it took.

Once I started looking at those old photos, I couldn't stop. Memories came rushing in, tumbling over one another like waves on the shore. Things I had forgotten. Things I vaguely remembered. And things that are imprinted on my memory, never to be forgotten.
I started taking photos when I was a little girl. I had a Kodak Instamatic that used 126 film cartridges and flash cubes. Remember those? I never had enough film or flash cubes. I was always trying to convince my parents to buy more  but that didn't work. And developing all that film I was shooting? Didn't happen so often. I bet there are lots of film cartridges in my father's attic, never developed and shoved into a bag.

When I graduated from grade school, what did I ask for? A Kodak Handle camera. It was Kodak's version of an instant camera. I loved.loved.loved that camera. It was big and bulky, but I didn't care. I marched around with that thing like I was Ansel Adams. Fast forward a couple years and I went to the Kodak Tele-Ektra 110 camera, which I used through the rest of high school.

By the time I left high school, I was ready for my first SLR. 

I've been a Nikon girl from way back. But not too far back. I'm not that old. 

Finally, finally, I found what I had been looking for.

A way to tell my story.
I'm not a studio photographer. Looking for someone to take your picture in a studio? Go find someone else. There's no life in that. No story. I see pictures of families posed and smiling prettily for the camera and they tell me nothing about those people. Are they fun? Or stoic? Can you joke with them? Or is life very serious business for them?

Lately, as photography has become an even larger part of my life, I've been searching myself for just what it is about taking photographs that brings me such satisfaction and fulfillment. I posted a few months ago that I was hoping to start writing. I have these stories in me, and characters, and pictures of places and scenes and I want to get them out, and make them come alive. But for some reason, they're stuck. I can't get them out through words. So finally it came to me. That's what I love about photography. That's what satisfies me when I nail a shot.

It's the stories.

I can finally tell my story. Just not with words.


I found so many photos I want to share but decided to post just a few at a time. And who better to start with then my kids.

J and the Man have been hanging out together, fishing, for a long time. The Man has always liked to fish and J would tag along, more to spend time with his dad than any great love of fishing. At least it seemed that way to me, in the beginning. He was content to just sit near his dad and watch him fish. But as J got older, he got more into the fishing part and buying gear, and now they fish together. Or drown worms. However you want to look at that. But part of him is still that little boy, sitting in a chair behind his dad, watching his hero spend time doing something he loves.

And pictures of K with all those curls kill me. She had the sweetest little smile. Still does. I look at these photos and I can see the innocent little girl she was, marveling at her mom standing on a chair looking down at her. Or standing on top of a cliff by the side of the sea, tilting into the wind, curls flying behind her, giggling as the wind takes her breath away.


My stories. These are my stories. And I'm so glad I have them.


  1. Oh, this will be interesting - really nice pictures of K!

  2. Oh, I hear you. I have also loved loved taking pictures since probably high school. And I definitely had one of those cameras with the flash cubes! I know that I would have taken SOmany more if I didn't have to pay for flash bulbs, film AND developing. Sigh.
    Digital age, how I love thee.
    You are not only a skilled photographer, Cheryl, you are also a writer. A real writer. You can capture emotion in your words as well as your photos. Keep doing both!!

  3. I can get lost in my old boxes of pictures.
    How wonderful. I loved seeing your beautiful curly topped girl.

    I loved reading your story.

  4. Lisa and Annie and Donna - thank you all for the kind words. And I'm so glad you like my story. I like writing, a lot, but I like taking pictures even more. And old pictures? They are one of my treasures now. I appreciate the encouragement from talented photographers/writers themselves! You guys are the best =]

  5. There is nothing better than going through boxes of old photos. I completely agree with your opinion of the studio photography, I love when photos show character, and yours definitely do!

  6. Taylor - thank you, i knew you would get it! you take photos like i do...

  7. I laughed and cried- you must continue, this is good stuff!
    Thinking of you..:)