I believe, as artists, we are constantly finding new versions of ourselves. The way we see and move through the world is always growing and changing. The way we create and the things that inspire us are different than they were a month or a year ago.
Photography has been a love of mine since I was very young. When I was in middle school, I fell hard and fast for the sound of a shutter click, the feeling of unboxing a new roll of film and carefully winding it into a the camera. My favorite memories in high school were set in the photo lab; my teacher and friends speaking quietly in the darkroom, dim red lighting overhead, moving our 8×10 prints between the trays of chemicals to develop our images. After high school, I carried a camera everywhere – usually a borrowed 35mm from a friends parent, heavy, and hanging from a beautiful vintage strap. Eventually I moved to digital and within a few years, most of us had a cell phone with a camera. (The cameras were awful, of course – but they were cameras!) It became easier and easier to leave the bigger, real cameras at home when I wasn’t working.
At the end of 2016, I found myself going through a giant box of old photographs from those early years, lusting over the colors, the light leaks, and the candid energy of each image. But then there’s a blank space. The first few years after camera phones became popular are just – missing. No printed photos from that period, no photos saved on a disk or hard drive or anywhere else. Those were some of the best years of my life and I only wish I had photographs to remind me of each special event that took place during that time. Realizing that this empty part in my photo timeline is solely because I chose to rely on my cell phone – because it was easier – was gutting.
Beginning in early 2017, I began making a conscious effort to bring a camera with me more often – whether it’s during a simple hike in the woods or on a trip to a new place. Looking back through this new, recent set of personal images has been an eyeopening experience. To be able to see which experiences and environments excite my creativity and push me to make imagery that speaks for itself makes my heart so happy.
Pittsburgh Photographers Personal Photography: Veronica Varos