March 12, 2020

Why I Became A Photographer Out Of The Blue



I remember when I was in my teenage years I use to go and buy those little yellow disposable cameras. I always kept one around me. Sometimes when my friends and I would go out I was the one that would quickly snap a photo. I wasn't very consistent in taking them back to the drug stores or Wal-Mart to get them developed. A matter of fact throughout the years I would randomly find them completely full stuffed away in a box or travel bag. Half of them would then be dropped off and the other half would be placed on my desk ; to remind me to drop them off; to never be dropped off.

Many of my life adventures when I was younger never got captured. Thinking back on it maybe I just figured I would remember everything just as it happened. I don't know . Maybe just youth back then. I say back then because in today's World of selfies and Instagram and YouTube; a teenager not wanting to take a photo to share their moment is almost unheard of.

I am a Xennial so I got to experience the before the abundance of pictures way of life changed into the "wait take a picture of everything " way of life. But back in my day ( oh my my my... I just sounded like my Grandpa just now) it just wasn't the ordinary thing to do or make a big focus on.

It wasn't until I was stationed in Italy that I felt my first true connection with photography.

Up to that point my hobby was writing. Writing a lot. I started with Poetry. Everything had a special meaning to me. I saw a Tree in the middle of a Park; and it wasn't just a Tree anymore. Instead it was

" The strength of its' roots made the wind bend to its presence. I stood there and like a breeze carried my thoughts through its branches we both felt each other presence".

Then I became fascinated with short stories and building characters and having them go through something random in their life. I would enter writing competitions and even won a few. Out of nowhere one day I walked in my room and there was a little thick book called " The Hobbit" . I couldn't put the book down. Oh the nowhere was a tad of reach; it was my Mother. J.R.R Tolkien instantly became one of my favorite Author. I would sit on the floor behind my daybed with my glass of milk and just read. Full ignorance to my brother and house phone ringing. Outside activities were secondary. I realized " hey this fantasy style of writing is incredible and I want to do it" . So I started to writing fantasy and sci-fi . After all the fantasy world attraction made sense considering I was already an avid Star Trek fan at that stage..

Fast forward many years to Italy. I rented this amazing house in a town called Maniago. At the house I would sit on my balcony overlooking my vegetable and fruit garden and write. I had an incredible view of the Mountains . When i wasn't writing I was traveling. It was nothing for me to wake up on a random day and decide that day I was going to take the train to Milan or Rome or Venice. A few months into living in Italy I went to the base (Aviano Air Base) exchange and purchase my very first semi-professional camera the Canon Rebel Xsi for somewhere around $700 or $800 dollars. I should back up a tad because it might just seem like I jumped from yellow disposable cameras that never got developed into buying a $800 camera on the whim.

Up to my move to Italy I had lived in four other Countries and traveled even more. I started to upgrade from the yellow disposables to the shoot and point cameras and began to carry my camera more and more. It became more than just grabbing a group shot before we head out. I started to really enjoy capturing the things that I would see around me. The things that I use to want to write poetry about; I had transitioned to wanted to capture it at exact moment. Buildings were fascinating ; Streets, and random people doing normal things that felt extraordinary through my eyes. So when I got to Italy and immersed myself into the culture and towns and scenery, my passion for capturing it all on camera just ignited. That led me to the Base Exchange to the Camera section. I wanted to invest in myself. I wanted to show myself my passion and hobby is worth some coins. On top of all of that the Canon Rebel Xsi was sexy. I mean sexy in the most non intimate way of course.

So there I was combining my passion with a better quality equipment. Let me tell you. Perfect harmony. Can I tell you about the very first time I used it?

I had stayed up the night prior reading the manual and going through dry runs of changing the settings. I could barely sleep. I knew exactly where I was going the next day. I got up. Fixed myself a double Espresso and packed my day travel bag. Got in my car and drove to the train station; where I purchased my ticket to Milan. A couple hours later I was walking out of Milano Grand Centrale Train Station. I found the most perfect spot on a bench facing the entryway of the Train Station. I sat down and started to fidget the dials on my new camera. Once I felt that my camera was ready to capture some awesome shots, I raised my head up and just started to absorb everything around me. That day I took over 50 random shots of strangers. Out of hundreds of people leaving the Train Station my eyes started to pick up really cool interactions. My favorite was the Grandpa and his grandkids, a little girl and boy. It was that moment that I realized that photography is something I really enjoyed doing. That moment was the true first pebble in my foundation of becoming a Photographer.

I stayed in the military for many more years after Italy. Along the way I took on my Photography jobs. I did a variety of genres allowing myself to find the types of photography I enjoy the most organically. After my military journey came to an end, I enrolled in College and completed my MBA. I landed in the field of Human Resources Management, Business Administration and Marketing. It would take me almost 6 years of doing Photography part time before I realized I wanted it to be front and center for my career. So, there you have it, now that I have unpacked it- it does not seem that random at all huh. Terra Howard Photography is very special to me. I actually started out with two other Business Names but I decided as personal as my journey has been, branding my company after me made the most sense.

I feel like after this blog, you and I are close enough to go have a cup of coffee and you tell me your story. :-)

xoxoxoxo Terra Howard