Back in late 2006 a group of my friends issued a challenge to each other – to take a photo a day for a full year and post it online. That was the beginning for me. It was magical. It’s not like I had never held a camera before. I had taken pictures of my friends, my kids, special moments I wanted to remember. What I had never realized, however, was you could use a camera to create something. It wasn’t just a tool to preserve memories (not that that isn’t important), but it could also be used almost like a paintbrush. I have always had a fascination with artists, mesmerized with their process of being able to create something filled with depth and emotion and feelings which cannot be communicated any other way. I have never had that gift, have never been able to do much of anything with a pencil except copy someone else’s work, and I was not really great at that either. All of that changed when I picked up the camera for that project. I began to see that the only limitations I had were my technical abilities. In photographs there was the possibility for the things I saw in my head to be created. The things that I saw, that were unique to me, could be captured and shared.
That feeling was indescribable. Seven years later and I still cannot believe how lucky I am to be able to do this. How much joy I get in pressing the shutter. The last few months, however, have brought me to a new place. I want to be able to share this joy. I want to show others how much the simple act of pressing a button can bring contentment to your life. I know… that sounds a bit cheesy… but even on the days when everything I shoot is horrible (and there are plenty of those), just getting outside with my camera can be like therapy. It is captivating looking through the viewfinder and I have found myself wanting to see others experience that same sense of wonder.
Last month I was given the opportunity to teach a photography course for Brave Writer, an online resource for teaching writing to homeschoolers. I taught a class of ten students and I can’t explain how great it was to see their posts and their photographs each day and read how excited they were about learning to use their cameras. It was just what I needed to get a jumpstart on teaching my own courses. With that, I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new project The Upstart Creative. While the courses will be geared towards students, I’m hoping they will also be a resource for anyone looking to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the visual arts. There will be courses in photography, as well as art appreciation, plus regular blog posts introducing new and classic artists and photographers. The first course starts very soon – June 2nd (registration is open now) – and it is all about beginning to take control of your camera and creating the photographs you want. I cannot wait to get started, but for it to be a success I need your help. Even if you are not interested in taking a course yourself, you probably know someone who is, so please do me favor and share this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., wherever you happen to be. My reach only goes so far, but you know the old commercial… “I tell two friends, then they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…”