My First Photograph
Since 1996, when I was first hired as a forest firefighter, I have been carrying around a camera taking snapshots. At first it was with disposable camera’s and eventually with small digital cameras. I never really took ‘photographs’. I did manage to take thousands of pictures of burned trees. All of which looked a lot like the last one. I was, after all, not being paid to express my creativity through photography.
One christmas, around 2005, my mother bought me a Canon SD300 digital elph and I began taking more and more pictures of a variety of things. Experimenting with all the little buttons and functions was a feeble attempt at taking photographs to say the least. “Spray and Pray” was my preferred method of attack. It wasnt until 2007, while in Quebec fighting forest fires, that I actually captured a photograph. Nothing spectacular, nothing overly impressive, but a photograph just the same. I remember stumbling upon this patch of strange-looking flowers. I saw no others remotely like it anywhere else in the area, and have never seen any like it since. A small patch of vibrant life in an otherwise monotonous swampland. These flowers were thick, waxy, and alien-like. I got down on my knees and with my camera in ‘macro’ mode I snapped this picture.
When I first uploaded that picture I was amazed. The image actually spoke to me….albeit muffled and somewhat incoherent. It was this moment I realized I could capture images that could tell a story, speak about beauty, or impart some feeling to a viewer.
Any real photographer could pick this photo apart. The original picture has sections overblown, distracting blades of grass in front of the flower, and other ‘issues’. But to me, looking back at that image, it still looks amazing. Now its just amazing for a different reason. It was my first photograph and the spark that smouldered and eventually turned into my photographic fire.
Troy Alan White