To many, photography is just the simple act of taking a picture, capturing a moment. I can just simply whip out my smartphone, pull up the camera app, and snap a picture. Done, finito, nothing more. That’s usually what a normal person would think.
To me, it’s so much more.
I don’t know what possessed me to pursue photography. Was it a stroke of luck that I found a great passion? Was it the fact that my father, his father, and his father before him were photographers as well (definitely not, this was actually a very recent fact I found out.)? If I can be frank, I honestly do not even remember. What I do know is that I never looked back. As you can probably tell, photography is something close to my heart. I cannot picture myself without it.
You ask any photographer in this town on why they do what they do, I’m 90% positive that some will probably say things along the lines of “Fam, cause my feed needs to be lit!” or “Dawg, the insta bangers are too fire!”, which is completely fine! Nowadays, social media is essential in finding success as a photographer. However, for me, it goes beyond that. If you ask what photography means for me, I will tell you this one thing, and one thing only.
It saved my life.
Coming from a broken household in a questionable neighbourhood, I was pushed to the brink of my sanity. Dread filled me when I went in on my first day of university at Ryerson, but it was here where I picked up the one thing that brought me down from oblivion; a camera. I felt at peace when I walked the streets of Toronto with my 5 year old T3i. It gave me focus, calm, serenity. It was the lighthouse I looked for in the raging sea that was my mind. Taking photos offered what I needed for such a long time, an escape; a pillar which I could lean on, to be at peace with my own turmoil.
What I found just from a simple act of picking up a camera has forever changed my life for the better. What my inner turmoil took away from my own being, I found again in photography.
I owe a life debt to this great craft, it truly has saved my life. It gave me a method to portray and creatively express myself in ways I never thought possible. If I am being honest, 5 years ago, I would never have even thought about the possibility of being a photographer. Now, I cannot picture myself in any other craft but photography. That’s what it means to me. To my fellow photographers, I only have one question,
What’s it for you?