Capturing the Soul

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

As the clipboard passes from one set of hands to the next, a bizarre sensation drifts from person to person. A fantastic glimmer of passion and excitement. An assuring whisper of creativity and vision. The pen and paper reach me, and I glance down at the various marks sprinkled across the page. I have four distinct choices: Pottery and Sculpture. Drawing and Painting. Jewelry. Photography. The pen touches the paper, and I stop; across the hall, students seem to share my exhilaration. Exiting the darkness, they reveal their work to the light for the first time. The shrill sound of the bell returns my attention to the paper, and my check mark, expanding the chaotic jumble of pen strokes, decides my future.

At the end of my ninth grade year, I made a decision. While it seems relatively insignificant, it is in truth an event that has impacted my life. Photography. It is taken for granted in the modern world, and it is largely misunderstood. In a world overcome by the mass media, it is easy to forget how incredible a camera truly is. With a push of the shutter, a photographer has the ability to preserve the past and, unlike any other artist, is capable of capturing a moment in time exactly as it was. It will never be the same again and can never be recreated. Through a photograph, an art form that cannot be rivaled by any other is born.

During my years in photography class, I progressed quickly. It was overwhelming at first, but I pushed through the frustration and came out on the other side. Three years ago, the mention of shutter speed, aperture, focal length, and depth of field deluged my mind. The complex, technical system of processing a photo baffled me. However, I learned not only the techniques necessary to produce a quality image but also the discipline and patience needed to advance my knowledge. I began applying this control and composure to other aspects of my life, and I saw myself flourish. I became more dedicated, but simultaneously, I saw my stress decrease tremendously. Thus, I was able to reach into the depths of my mind and unleash my own creativity. I became inspired by great photographers: Horst P. Horst, George Hurrell, Richard Avedon, and countless others. Rather than shooting simple snapshots, I began to focus my camera on my soul, and I discovered my own unique style.

Looking back, I am able to track my progression both as a photographer and as a person. It was not a coincidencethat I placed my check next to photography that day. I was led to it by my passion, and it changed me for the better. I was destined to be who I am today, and I would not change if given the option.

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