My very first photo shoot was… unforgettable. It was one of those super hot days over summer break that seem to last forever. The one where none of the little millennials want to go outside for fear of sweating or getting dirty, but there is absolutely nothing to do inside. Yeah, that was me. I’m still the same girl, but without the guilt. Anyways, I’m watching my kid cousin for whatever reason, and I get an idea. I’d received a pink, 110 film camera for my 13th birthday that year, and I felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.
So, I dug out an old bed sheet, hung it over the back door, and closed the door so the sheet would stay pinned in place- a ready made backdrop. I found some fake flowers for extra props, dressed my cousin up like Patrick Swayze in roadhouse, and it was on. I proceeded to direct him to pose in every conceivable position. Knowing what I know now, he really did great for a four year old. He made it look so easy I even switched places and let him take a few of me.
After my mother got home from work, she took me straight to Wal-Mart to get the film developed. I joyfully filled in all of the information on the drop-off envelope by myself, stuffed my film inside, licked the seal, and placed it in the bin. I would have to wait ONE FRIGGIN’ WEEK! It might as well be a century! For a thirteen year old, it was at least a lifetime. I’m pretty sure I called that photo lab every single day starting on the third day and at least twice a day thereafter- just checking to make sure there hadn’t been some tragedy with the shipping, processing, or receiving.
Then, after a week, there they were.
I opened them with so much anticipation. My hands shook, and my fingers didn’t want to listen. I was almost immediately devastated. Some of the film didn’t develop, my backdrop was wrinkled, my finger covered the the flash on a few, and more than half of them were blurrier than my eyes at the end of Titanic. I put them away until I got home.
After some time though, I decided that I had never been more proud. There were at least a couple that were truly high quality. I was ecstatic, because I had captured that kid’s confidece and witty personality! Of course, I immediately took them to my granny so she could do what good grannies do and boost my ego with unbiased compliments. I never dreamed she would ask to keep them. She took the pictures and placed them directly into the classiest brass frames she had available. They are there even today twenty-four years later. In that moment, my love for photography was realized. I still get that same nervous excitement after every session. Thankfully, though, we have digital cameras, and I don’t have to wait a whole stupid week to see them.