Immersion Project: Why to be a photographer, Personal Story

I had fun writing this as well. It was kind of like an opinion, but also more telling my story and my perspective on what photography really is, what it offers.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a photographer. Maybe I was inspired by my big sister, who dabbles in photography herself. Maybe I was purely in love with the idea of capturing an image and having it forever. That memory, being cemented, could be mine until the end of time. Either way, I have been fascinated by photography ever since I was young. My other aspiration of being a Pediatrician, I think, has won out, but I am certain photography will always be a part of my life. Whether I work from time to time with a photography company or if I am just taking pictures of my family’s annual camping trip and my dog, I know I will always love pressing down and hearing that click of the shutter.

The concept of photography, as mentioned earlier, is probably what appealed to me most. It has grown on me these past few years especially. After my private elementary school shut down when I finished fifth grade, my best friends and I barely ever saw each other again. Then I spent each year of middle school in a different school before finally ending up at Thomas Harrison. Nothing was ever permanent for me during those years. I made friends and then I lost them because when you’re in middle school, you don’t stay in touch besides still following each other on Instagram. This is why I am so captivated by photography; because my experiences and memories and the friendships I had while taking a picture were fleeting, but I trapped that one moment in time and was able to hang onto it because it was frozen and wouldn’t change, unlike everything else that did.

Even as I am at Harrisonburg High School, somewhere I know I will stay for my remaining three years, I still hang onto this idea because we all are constantly changing. The fact is that life is always progressing in some way. You take the pictures and freeze the moments and the thought is not to later look back on the past and reminisce on how much you miss those good ol’ days, but it is to look at everything and everyone who impacted you in your life to make you into who you are now. Pictures are a timeline, all important points that tell the story of a person illustrated by color and light. They are records of what makes us us.

I also shoot because I love people. I love seeing their reactions and excitement and emotion. I am entranced by the chill you get when you stare at the bold, serious green eyes of the afghan girl as she looks straight into National Geographic’s camera lens and right into your soul. I love the full-teeth, genuine smile you get from a senior at a pep rally. I love the laughter see from my friends and also the faces they make when I catch them off guard, which triggers even more laughter. I love people and the many ways they express themselves and how we feel what is being felt through a picture. I love the emotion that seeps from it, so thick and so plentiful that if looked at long enough, you could go swimming in it. I love the sympathy and empathy we can feel, just the surrounding arms of the photo. I love how I can look at the beaming face of the senior at the pep rally, his elation so intense it bleeds through the picture, and feel his exact giddiness so that my face wearing a smile to match his. We are pulled in and just by looking at the image we are overcome with emotion, whether sadness or love or anger or joyousness, and the fact that the photo can stir up something within us and make us feel something is such a beautiful thing.

There are so many wonderful things you can do with photography. You can become a professional and travel the world shooting pictures for people, you can just plain travel the world and take pictures for yourself, you can take pictures of your family as they grow or you can take pictures of wherever you see beauty. Whatever you do, the camera is for you. Make your pictures your own. Tell the story. Show the story.


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