My Photographic Inspiration

posted in: Notes | 4

Major McKinley AshI am often asked by new acquaintances how I first became interested in photography as a profession.  I’m sure that my story is similar to the stories of many other artists, but it is special to me.  So, I’ve decided to finally share my photographic inspiration with you (in a nutshell, of course).

But before I begin, I want to add one other comment.  This may be my initial inspiration, but every additional client I meet brings more fulfillment to me as an artist.  I absolutely love capturing moments that no one else can — I love the opportunity to turn a moment into something that will endure for generations.

I’ve always been interested in creative things – in first grade I convinced my grandmother to teach me piano; when I was a little older I would run an art store in my parents’ basement, and the walls on the basement stairs were covered with ‘art gallery’ items. So photography was a natural creative outlet for me. My parents have a picture of me when I was about 3 where I am holding a box of film – at 5, there is a snapshot of me peering through a ‘big’ Nikon SLR and telephoto lens. Those snapshots are actually more a reflection of my natural curiosity and desire to try new things than a sign that I was ‘born to be a photographer.’ Photography, like my other creative tendencies, came naturally to me as part of my desire to capture and document life around me – moments and memories that cannot be repeated.

My grandfather, who passed away in March 2007 (read the backstory of “Uphill Battle”) was a quiet but steady influence in my enthusiasm for photography. Two of his sons (one being my dad) love photography as a hobby; probably due to my grandfather’s interest in the art. I would rarely see him without a camera in hand, and the photographs he took on vacations were on display throughout their home – the Giza pyramids, a farmhouse in the Swiss alps, and even hot air balloons. These images encouraged me to see the wonder in the world around me!

I more recently discovered how my grandfather became interested in photography. He served in Signal Corps during World War II, and was seriously injured during the Battle of the Bulge. His injuries took over a year to heal. During that time, two of his friends (who escaped serious injury) were stationed at the Leitz factory in Germany (where Leica cameras were made). Each soldier was allowed one Leica camera — since they had to pick it up in person, his friends were unable to get my grandfather the Leica. They did send him another camera, though, and that camera was the one that piqued his interest in the art of photography.

4 Responses

  1. Tanya

    That is so neat how you and your grandfather have that in common. My teenage daughter loves photography too and is thinking about having her own business. Thanks for sharing on #throwbackthursday link up!

  2. Betsy Finn

    Thanks for stopping by, Tanya!

  3. I adore this story of your grandfather and your love of photography! My grandfather died 9 years ago this coming July and was also in WWII. He was a POW/MIA and was the only one to survive his captured group. He came home with a few ailments that plagued him the rest of his life, but that didn’t stop him from marrying my Grammy, who died this January, spending their life together. He was artistic, and I’m sure my brother and I get much of our artistic abilities from him as well as the rest of our artistic family members. Family memories are just so awesome! Thank you for sharing on #throwbackthursdaylinkup

  4. Betsy Finn

    Thanks for sharing your grandfather’s story, Heather! It sounds really familiar 🙂 🙂 …isn’t it neat how we inherit certain traits?