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"Why Do You Love Photography?" Contest & Prizes!

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[b][color=#ff0000][size=5]UPDATE:[/size][/color][/b][color=#800080][size=5] Winners have been announced! See the last post in this thread to review our winners: http://ilovephotography.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=494874&view=findpost&p=5339915[/size][/color]




[size=4]Hey everybody!

To mark the opening of this new subforum at ILP (first time we've had an "open" forum readable by visitors), I thought we'd start off with something fun and not too threatening. :)

As you can see, this contest is titled, "Why do you love photography?" That is the question put to you and our members. Why is it that you strive so intensely week after week at this craft... why do you go at it at least one more time even when yesterday may have produced less than satisfying results? Are we nuts, or is there some holy grail we are after? Please let us know how you would describe your method of photo madness! There are some prizes up for grabs if you do.

[b]Rules:[/b] Describe to us why you love photography... what's behind your motivation. You may include an image if you'd like but it's optional, since this is NOT a photo contest but more an essay contest. If you include an image, please make it 450 x 550 pixels (for possible ILP cover use), vertical format; color or b/w, anything goes, except please keep nudity to a minimum, thanks. Your submission can be of any length, but let's assume a 1000 word max limit. [b]Contest will end around February 21, 2012.[/b] [color=#800080][b]Even if you don't submit an entry, please vote by "liking" your favorite essays. You may like more than one post![/b][/color][/size]

[b]Prizes will be awarded as follows:[/b][list]
[*]The post with the most "likes" will win his/her choice of 3 prizes listed below.
[*]Second most likes will win his/her choice of 2 prizes from remaining prizes.
[*]Third most likes win choice of 1 prize from remaining prizes.
[*]I will choose one "editor's choice" winner, who win's his/her choice of 1 prize from the remaining prizes.
[*]One post will be chosen purely at random, and will win the remaining prize.
[*]When composing your essay, keep in mind that all can read this forum, even visitors.
[*]Please note that prizes are subject to whether they can be delivered to your location by the prize sponsor. If you win, please check first with the sponsor about delivery of any physical items.
[/list]
[b]Please visit our "Why do you love photography?" prize sponsors![/b]

[attachment=980801:poshprints144x190.jpg]
[b][size=3]1 $50 gift certificate to Posh Prints & Design.
 Also: Use coupon code: ILP2012 for 15% off your order until 2013
 [url="http://www.poshprintsanddesign.com"]http://www.poshprintsanddesign.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980804:shootbaby-banner190x144.jpg]
[b][size=3]One Ottoman Posing Beanbag from the USA SHOOT BABY!™ Store
 Value: $95.00 USD [url="http://www.shootbaby.com"]http://www.shootbaby.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980803:sarahgourdie-banner.GIF]
[b][size=3]$100 credit at Sarah Gourdie Designs [url="http://www.sarahgourdiedesigns.com"]http://www.sarahgourdiedesigns.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980800:kateparker-banner.GIF]
[b][size=3]$50 gift certificate to Kate Parker's [url="http://www.thepolishedphotographer.com"]http://www.thepolishedphotographer.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980799:imajen-banner.gif]
[b][size=3]One backdrop from [url="http://Imajenbackdrops.com"]http://Imajenbackdrops.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980798:andreajoki-banner.jpg]
[b][size=3]One admission to any of Andrea Joki's class webinars from the Photographers Learning Resource. 
Good any time through 2012. [url="http://www.photolearningresource.com"]http://www.photolearningresource.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980805:simpcanv-banner-sm.GIF]
[b][size=3]20x30 Gallery-wrapped Canvas from Simply Color Lab. [/size][/b]
[b][size=3]Also, for all ILPers until March 15th: [/size][size=3]$25 toward a Gallery Wrapped Canvas at Simply Color Lab. Offer expires
3-15-2012 and is not valid with other promotions and discounts. Use Promo
Code: LVEPH2
[url="http://www.simplycolorlab.com/"]http://www.SimplyColorLab.com[/url][/size][/b]

[attachment=980802:retouchup-banner.GIF]
[b][size=3]$100 in free retouching services at [url="http://RetouchUp.com."]http://RetouchUp.com.[/url] "A great tool to keep in your back pocket for when you need to be in three places at once."[/size][/b]


[color=#800080][size=5]Please spread the word, and remember to "like" your favorite entries! Thanks everyone! :)[/size][/color]

[size=3]--Eddie.[/size]
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I'm not sure exactly what you were looking for but this is what photography does for me:
If this should be longer/shorter let me know and I can revise.

[color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
By nature, I am not someone who expresses my emotions openly and have trouble expressing myself. [/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
Photography is emotion simply felt and implied without having to be put into words. [/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
An image taken correctly can invoke so much emotion it just amazes me, no awkward pauses or mistaken words - just the simple image speaks for itself.[/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
There have been times that I open a post on ILP and it literally takes my breath away, the beauty of the moment captured.[/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
That very moment can be handed down from generation to generation ensuring it is remembered always.[/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
I was recently visting family after the passing of a close family member, we looked through the old albums and cherished the times that we could remember. Those images will be with us all forever.[/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
What makes me keep trying? Every time I upload a bunch of OOF underexposed grainy pictures and want to give up, I see a beautiful image that someone on ILP took - someone who one day was as clueless as me. Thats when I decide to ignore the fact that my kids would rather eat stinky socks then sit in front of my camera, offer up the some bribes in the hopes of suddenly "getting it" and move on![/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
Day by day, post by post, I will improve and strive towards my goal that one day I will be able to create images as beautiful and moving as I have had the privilege to view. [/size][/font][/color][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
Even though I know I'm a long way off.. I'm going to keep trying![/size][/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]
I dont have an image that I think is good enough to upload...[/size][/font][/color]
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Why do I love photography? To answer this I have to go back to when I was 21 years old and my worldview began to be shaped in a totally new way when I became a follower of Jesus Christ. My entire perspective was radically altered over time and this alteration helped me to answer so many of the questions I had. We are told in the book of beginnings that God created us "[i]in His image[/i]". Being made in God's image means that we are in a way like God. We love, we hope, we despair. [i](Yes, God the Father did despair, see Genesis 6:5-6, as did the son Christ in the Garden of Gethsamene, see Luke 22:44). [/i]We were created by God, and like God who in his vast creativity thought us up, we long to create. We see beauty which satisfies and inspires us. We long to share and ask --who will I share this with? how can I grab my moments and drop them into your world? Some people write, others dance, sing, sew, cook, even clean. Some effortlessly create bonds like Chris McCandless whose story came to life when Jon Krakauer used his gift with words to create the book INTO THE WILD. We each express our godliness in different genres. As a young girl and one of eleven children I always gravitated toward photography. I am not able to transfer what I see as effectively as some of you. I am touched and inspired by your work and at times despair that I do not get better quicker. But I am satisfied to know that even the struggle is a gift. And for me photography is also a gift, a passion and a gift.
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I love photography because it stops time for a moment. These paused moments are something we can look back on anytime as many times as we would like. I love capturing photographs mostly to share with many generations. My favorite life moments were always sitting around with my family looking back at photographs and reminiscing the good ole days. I think it is very important to pause time for just a moment because life is too short and time flies by.
I truly realized my love for photography when my son was born. As with most new Mothers, all the new changes take over your life so quickly that its almost impossible to stop and enjoy Motherhood. Precious moments with your baby go by especially fast because before you know it they are walking, talking, and growing up way too fast! Sometimes I look back at newborn pictures that were taken just a little over two years ago and I have already forgotten how small he was, what he looked like with out hair, and his toothless smiles. I cherish those photographs more than anything else and I love sharing them with him and loved ones who aren't near to see him growing up.
I also love photography because I think it's truly amazing to look back at grandparents, cousins, and other family members when they were young. Since you may not have known them at that time, its amazing to take a glimpse into their lives and see their personalities shine through with just an expression. A photograph can tell a story and bring many emotions to your heart that you can enjoy for many years and share with anyone else. I want others to treasure these types of memories as much as I do.
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I love photography. But I kind of hate photography too.

I love the shwack of the shutter opening and the mirror popping up on my SLR. I love the gratifying click when you twist on a new lens. I love how everything seems just a little more magical when it’s compressed into a lovely little viewfinder. I love the instant gratification of digital photography.

I hate the instant gratification of digital photography. I miss those tiny black closets, blindly rolling film into canisters. I miss the smell of the chemicals in the dark room and the tick tick tick of the enlargers focusing, their lights clacking on and off. I miss the anticipation, watching the image appear like fairy tale magic.

I love the ability to capture one single moment in time, to completely freeze it for forever. That moment will never happen again, but because I caught it, it becomes eternal. It’s mine.

I hate the hundreds of thousands of moments I fail to capture. I feel them flutter away from me—I get frustrated that I am too slow, or too preoccupied to notice. I hate that they could have been mine, if only I was paying more attention.


I love photography because it fills up my heart. But it kind of breaks my heart too. It makes me want to bust a move. Or sometimes bust my camera.

I love photography because it is mine mine mine. And even though it is yours too, it doesn’t make it any less mine.

[url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kriskrisfoutz/6844676047/"][img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6844676047_156c784b37_z.jpg[/img][/url]
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There are a million reasons I love photography. I love that we’re creating memories. It’s not just about the professional photographer, but anyone, with a camera photographing our lives. Lives change daily. New people are born and people die. Photographs last forever. They remain a vital part of our family’s memories. They’re how we show a child a grand-parent that passed before they were born. They’re how we introduce a new baby to an out of state Grand-parent. I love knowing every time I click the shutter that I have frozen time. I’ve left tangible proof that this moment existed. I love that my children will have images to help them hold on to their childhood when they’re grown. And we all know how fast little people turn into big people. Life is busy. Photography is about slowing it down. And that is why I love photography.
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Why do I love photography? Simply put…it takes you back to that moment in time. When I was a child, I took my camera everywhere! I was always anxious to get the photos developed so I could choose my favorites. I had a HUGE Tupperware container that I kept all of my photos in and I would go through those hundreds of photos every so often. It was the greatest feeling to be able to transport myself back in time to those moments that I loved. I still have that box and I still go through it frequently. When I became a mom, the only thing I wanted to do was slow time down. I wanted to remember every little smirk or giggle. I wanted to remember all of his firsts. I wanted to remember what it looked like to see my husband staring lovingly at our beautiful miracle. I wanted to remember his first time tasting Ranch dressing when it covered his happy, little face. I wanted to remember those weird faces that he did for a very short time. My love for going back in time took on a new meaning. It centered around my son and trying to absorb every single moment of his wonderful life. My son is only 2 years old and I already have thousands of photos of him. If he were to ask about any important moment in these first 2 years, all I’ll have to do is pull out one of his many albums and take both of us back in time. It’s the only true time machine we’ll ever have. My photos are my most important possessions, they are priceless. I love photography because I am selfish and I want to hold onto every precious moment of my life.
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I love photography because it's a way to capture fleeting moments, but mostly because you can feel true raw emotions when looking at a photograph. From a toddler merrily drawing it's first piece of art, to an old couple looking lovingly at each other, to a pained coupled dealing with a loss. I love the spectrum of emotions that can be felt universally. I believe photography can touch the hearts of so many people regardless of external differences. A photograph tugs at the heart; it can uplift, destroy, bring joy or hate, make you dance, make you proud, or make you jelous. It's endless, really.

What makes me strive to get better is knowing that I can create these images for myself, my family, the world, and have an impact be it minute or big.

I also love pretty things and this hobby feeds my obsession, to my husband's great chagrin :)
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[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]I LOVE photography because...[/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][color=#000000][font=Calibri]… of the way it makes me [i]feel[/i] – I Love looking back at pictures I have taken of my family, and friends, and be able to feel the emotion that was captured. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]... of the way it makes me [i]remember[/i] - To the big portrait of a period in my life to the smallest details of a specific moment. It makes moments last forever and with a 6 months old baby who is growing so fast, I’m so thankful for it! As I was looking at newborn pictures of my little boy the other day, I realize how small he was and how quickly we forget that! [/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]... of the way it [i]can talk without words[/i] – I love that it’s universal since I’m not good at writing, especially in English. [/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]... of the way I can [i]create[/i] – It allows me to develop my artistic side.[/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][color=#000000][font=Calibri]... of the way I can use [i]light [/i]to make simple thing look so [i]beautiful :)[/i][/font][/color][/size]

[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]... of the way it makes me forget about all the little worries in life. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a therapy![/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][font=Calibri][color=#000000]... of the way I can share moments with my family that they wouldn’t have been able to see without it. [/color][/font][/size]

[size=5][color=#000000][font=Calibri]Here is my little Benjamin, the main reason I’m pushing myself to become a better photographer. My goal at the moment is to be able to capture every little moment of his life.[/font][/color][/size]

[attachment=981168:14 aout 20118web.jpg]
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I love photography because it gives me endless excuses to avoid having sex with my husband. Sorry honey, not tonight, editing deadline. Sorry honey, not tonight, designing an album. Sorry honey, not tonight, culling. Sorry honey, not tonight, my inbox is jam packed. Photography is awesome.
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LOL!!!! Alicia, you are hilarious!!!!!!!
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I love photography for so many reasons.
My subjects, mood, and colors change with the seasons.
Forever ingrained are my grandmother's wrinkles,
my baby's first tears...and her first tinkles.

I love photography because it is instant.
I can immediately see how to become more consistant.
My goals are satisfied with the click of a shutter,
and I realize in that moment my house is full of clutter.

I love photography because it makes my heart sing.
The moments that are fleeting, the birth, the ring.
I can play detective, find new wonderful locations.
I love that my brain can dabble in two vocations.

I love photography because children grow too fast.
It provides us with proof, a history, a past.
One hundred years in the future
my photographs will act as an historical suture.

I love photography, more than mere words can express,
the challenge, the technique, the moments of regress.
Forever to mold, grow, and transform,
photography will always be part of my norm.

I love photography, it removed me from my shell.
I have been able to fly, and my heart did swell.
The people I meet, the fun that we have
make this the craft that is etching my path.

So forever, I love photography.
It preserves people, and makes me...me.

[url=http://zollivephotography.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Portfolio/18107185_pZHKZV#!i=1679154077&k=6BSSJSB&lb=1&s=A][img]http://zollivephotography.smugmug.com/photos/i-6BSSJSB/2/L/i-6BSSJSB-L.jpg[/img][/url]
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Is there a deadline for this? I need to think (and it may take a while!)

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Beth,

The contest will last at least two weeks, so you have some time. :)

--Eddie.

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I love photography because it's my saving grace. It keeps me whole. It is mine alone. My husband is not better than me (and he is better/more knowledgable than me at EVERYTHING.) It keeps me from feeling small next to him. It allows me to stand up straight and look people in the eye. It gives me self-confidence and allows me to be proud of myself. (Growing up depressed and repressed and put down by my family, this is HUGE for me!) It gives me time away from my children so I can be a better mother when I am with them. It allows me to socialize with random people and helps my depression. It fulfills my need to be creative and to create. It gives me a purpose - something to differentiate each day from the next. It sings to me and heals my heart some days. No matter who makes me feel small or how my family treats me, I look at my work and feel great about myself. I look at what I have created, look at the images that made my clients rave, and know that I am good and worthwhile. I create amazing, beautiful images from nothing! I love photography because it saved me.
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[i]Well, I really tried to avoid adding another sappy, emotional response to this. I wanted to be light hearted and funny. But it just wasn't genuine. Truth be told, photography is emotional for most of us. And besides, someone had already done the "get out of sex free card" thing. Call me crazy but somethings are worth shutting down the ol' computer for. =) So, sappy and emotional, here's what is my genuine answer to "Why I Love Photography".[/i]


[size=5][color=#000000][font=Calibri]Actually, I don't love photography. I love[b] portrait [/b]photography. I can appreciate the beauty of landscapes or still life or any other genre of photography. But none of them would ever have motivated me to learn this craft like portrait photography. I want to take photographs of people. [/font][/color]

[font=Calibri][color=#000000]In 2010, I stood in a funeral parlor, next to my husband, as we say good bye to his mother who had unexpectedly passed away. In her 62 years, she didn't bother to take very many pictures. She didn't have a camera handy. She didn't think she looked pretty. She didn't have the time. But in an instant, every scrap of paper with her image on it was priceless to us.[/color][/font]

[color=#000000][font=Calibri]In 1986, I fled with my mother and siblings, running for freedom and safety, leaving behind everything, including all photo albums. The closest I have to a "baby" picture is my 2nd grade school year book picture. All these years later, my mom wishes she could have a "do over" and take the time to grab irreplaceable pictures of us kids. [/font][/color]

[font=Calibri][color=#000000]In 2005, I became a mother. And for every baby picture I am missing of myself, I have hundreds of my girls as babies, toddlers, little girls.[/color][/font]

[font=Calibri][color=#000000]Last week, I gave my father in law a series of portraits of five of his grandsons. He traced their faces with his old weathered fingers and without saying a word, let me know he treasured this gift. And I stepped back and took in the sight of him enjoying those pictures. [/color][/font]

[font=Calibri][color=#000000]That is why I love portrait photography. Because our lives are ultimately a series of relationships. I love people and I love photographing people.[/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][i][font=Calibri][color=#000000]{The storyboard I gave my father in law:}[/color][/font][/i][/size]
[font=Calibri][size=3][color=#000000][img]http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b130/Kayte315/Kate%20McCoy%20Photography/10x20fixed.jpg[/img][/color][/size][/font]
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Kate, emotional and well-thought-out gets my vote, too! But are you calling my post sappy??????? "adding [i]another [/i]sappy, emotional post..." :) (I'm KIDDING!!!)

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[quote name='JumpingJack' timestamp='1328907915' post='5318803']
Kate, emotional and well-thought-out gets my vote, too! But are you calling my post sappy??????? "adding [i]another [/i]sappy, emotional post..." :) (I'm KIDDING!!!)
[/quote]

LOL no no! i'm calling MINE sappy! =)

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Why do I love photography? I love it because it conveys what I can’t articulate in words….emotions. Emotions are universal. No matter where you live, your gender, your age, we all have emotions in common. One image, no matter how interpreted, creates a bond of emotion between its viewers.

I love it because it’s for me. It’s my artistic vision no matter its technical quality. This is not to say that I don’t strive to create the best technical image I can. My ultimate goal is to create images that are both technically correct and evoke emotions for its viewers. I am far from this goal but I am enjoying the journey, the learning, and the story I am creating for my family and friends along the way.

And with that is one picture from my story. One that is not technically correct, one that was taken along my journey, when I saved my photos as a JPEG, when I didn’t even have an editing program, one that brings a smile, a sense of calm, a feeling of pride that I took this picture, this moment that is now preserved for my family.

[img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6856486973_5fdcc29346.jpg[/img]

Best of luck to all participants! Your essays are inspiring!
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There are many reasons why I love photography. I think the only way I can convey them is to use photographs.
THIS is everything to me. Catching this moment when my husband was headed off to Iraq ....
[attachment=981409:n539005763_1581922_7223.jpg]
Photography keeps those moments that mean so much FRESH in my head. It helps me remember how small my children once were, or my grandpa's (who has passed away) smile.
But I would be lying if I said I didn't also get much satisfaction out of other people's reactions to my photos. That photo above has spoken to many. In fact, it might be sitting in your mailbox right now, persuading you to donate to the purple heart foundation. That is probably one of my favorite things about photography. The ability to speak to others without words. To show happiness, sadness, sillyness and remember that it happened.

Or reactions like this ...

[attachment=981412:ilpcontest2.jpg]
[attachment=981413:ilpcontest3.jpg]

How often do you get to give a gift that evokes this sort of response? Not only can I do that for my family ... but nearly every time a client opens their order, I get something like this. It makes me feel good. No, it makes me feel AMAZING. I love photography because I get to take this joy that I get out of something so special and share it and use it every day in my career. I never hate my job.
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[quote name='sallykate' timestamp='1328973847' post='5319211']
I love that photography has given me x-Ray vision. I can't believe I went my 30+(+++) years without being able to "see" the magic that exists all around me.

The way a baby crosses her sweet, fat feet in the car seat.

The way the light falls on my son's face in the sunset.

The way the "ordinary stuff of life" can become beautiful if the light is hitting it just right.

The way everything is so vibrant after a hard rain.

Or a patch of flowers three feet square, one I've driven past 80 million times before, suddenly causes me to pull everyone over to the side of the road for an impromptu photo shoot, because I can now imagine what can come of that little patch.

I love that I can finally stop my 30+ years of complaining about the weather, because I can now see all the possibilities that can come from any form of it. I love that I can now scan a crowd of children, pick one and be able to see a little of his essence, just by "seeing" the expression, the stance, the behavior, and knowing just how I want to capture that moment forever.

I love photography because just saying "I love photography" can never quite convey just how much this love swells, and then explodes from me in inexplicable ways. How it's done so much in a year, to completely transform me as an artist. Thank you, x-ray vision, for giving me the ability to see so much, and thank you, Photography, for making it impossible for me not to act upon all that I see, for not being able to restrain the urge to record it.
[/quote]

Beautiful words...so true!!!!
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Why do I love photography?

Photography has given me new eyes to see the beauty that exists in the world around me.

Photography gives me the opportunity to learn and grow everyday.

I am not good with words. Photography has given me a voice when my frail words fail me.


[attachment=981420:wrilpIMG_5182ebwbc.jpg]
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Why do I love photography....

I grew up with a mother who always had a camera in her hand. She was always capturing moments...whether those were happy or sad, she had the picture to prove it happened. As a kid I hated the camera, I never understood why she had to have a picture of everything. Wasn't the picture she took the day before enough, did she REALLY need one of me again today? It wasn't too long until I truly understood... a death in the family. I was old to grasp the concept of death and what it really meant. The connection to that person could only be attained through memories. Memories that we had in our hearts, minds, and in photos.

I decided when I was in 7th grade that I wanted to capture moments for myself. I was old enough to go out and do things with my friends without adults along. We had many wonderful, fun times and those NEEDED to be captured by me. A lot of my early pictures were mainly of us being goofy and doing silly things, I have many that captured things we'd only get to do/experience once.

I am now older, not only wanting to capture moments and memories, but wanting to capture thoughts and feelings. What we see and experience today will not be around tomorrow. Everything from the leaves on the ground, the clouds in the sky, even the grains of sand by the ocean need to be captured. We take advantage of life as it passes us by without realizing what may not be here in the future. I want all of that for my kids to have. I want them to know what they missed out on, but to feel how I felt when I got to experience it. So every picture I take, every time I click that button, is something that I want to live on forever, even if just a photograph.

So I love photography because of everything it is able to do and capture. I love that what I see today, will be seen tomorrow, and even years from now. That what was seen in the past by long gone photographers, is able to be seen today, even though that moment is gone, it is forever frozen.
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