when i was 11, i asked my mom for my very own camera and she gave me a Kodak Disc. it had a circular film wheel that looked a heck of a lot like a Viewfinder toy disc (if you're younger than 40, you may be scratching your head right now). the quality of the pictures was really, really bad, but i loved having my own camera (and i still have photos i took with it!). a year later, my father died and i became obsessed wtih photographing my family and friends. i didn't want to lose them, so i caputred them on film and held them on printed images.
at 19, when i was leaving for the Air Force, i talked my mom into getting me my very first fully manual 35mm film camera. it traveled with me to California, Texas, and then to Japan, where i bought a fancier 35mm camera. i've since learned that it takes more than just a fancy camera to make a beautiful image. it takes the whole heart, the depths of the soul, and strong desire.
photography has been my love and my my lifeline ever since i can remember. the temporary nature of life, of a moment, makes me want to capture each face, each beautiful scene, even every painful moment...all of it. i want to remember it all. when i'm too old to hold my camera steady, i want to sit with old photo albums and prints weathered from being handled so much and be grateful for every moment i experienced. even the heartbreaking ones.
photo by Dale Townsend; edits by me