Recently I gave away my first DSLR, and as I wrapped it up in bubble wrap and crossed my fingers that it would make it safely to its destination, I got a little nostalgic and reflective… which tendency I hope you will forgive me for indulging in this space. My dad gave me that camera, a Canon EOS D30 (not to be confused with the less-ancient 30D), when I was sixteen years old. Though the photographic record suggests that I often left it at home in favor of much smaller and more convenient point-and-shoots, for almost ten years I used it regularly for self-conscious self-portraits, artsy shots of high school and college and young-adult life, and whenever I wanted to legitimize my photography habit as “art” (there’s nothing like a big ol’ brick of a camera to do that).
(self-portraits circa 2003 – 2007. I was really fond of that tiered purple skirt.)
I was terrible for a long time at organizing my photos, and I have no idea where (or if!) high-res files of some of these photos exist, or what’s become of my earliest experiments with the D30. The extant photos I have are almost all from college or after.
In 2009 I attempted a photo-a-day project; I succeeded until sometime in February, when the lcd screen on my point-and-shoot broke after weeks of being carried carelessly in my jacket pocket. Several months later I still hadn’t gotten it fixed. Instead I carried the brick around and took awesome photos. The first big event I ever photographed, really, was Renn Fayre ’09 — my alma mater’s big year-end party & unofficial young alumni reunion:
A few months after that, I spent a month in Eureka, California, as a student of Cornerstone Theater’s 6th Institute Summer Residency, a community-based theatre program in which a whole bunch of talented theatre professionals and students move into a town temporarily to hang out with local folks and create a play by, for, and about the local community. I slipped easily into the role of documentarian, and by the end of the month was taking production photos of Jason in Eureka and wandering around snapping photos of our amazing venue, Blue Ox Millworks, as the ever-present mist shone in the stage lights.
Everyday life, ’09-’10 —
Renn Fayre ’10 —
When Andrew and I left Portland in June 2010 on our bicycles, my repaired point-and-shoot won out over the D30 for pannier space, and by the time I finally got home just in time for the holidays, it had been replaced by its successor. My new camera is great; it’s about a million times better in low light than my old one, and it has some nice features, like, say, more megapixels than an iPhone (the D30 has less than five). But that old brick had great juju, and it taught me everything I know. (Okay, it taught me everything I know that I didn’t learn from my grandfather’s old Pentax Spotmatic, which was gifted to me by my mom around the same time my dad gave me the D30. Thanks, mom and dad, for helping me follow my passions!) I hope that in its next life it will continue to document beauty and discovery.