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My Photography “Backstory”

March 3, 2012

It was Christmas of 1969 and I was 11 years old when I got my first camera, a Kodak 126 Instamatic (which I still have).  I have been happily doing the “point and shoot” dance ever since.  Most of the photos from those days captured the craziness of Christmas celebrations and the chaos of our family vacations in Northern Michigan.  You see, I’m the oldest of six children, born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit.  My father worked on the assembly line for one of “The Big Three” and mom stayed at home raising the family.  We could only afford to buy film for those important, special occasions.  Those little black and white, and eventually color, snapshots have become priceless family treasurers.

I “graduated” to a Kodak 110 Instamatic during my teen years, which didn’t hold up as well as my first camera.  I’m pretty sure it eventually broke and was laid to rest. Film processing became more affordable and I took more photos than ever before.   Unfortunately, the quality of processing wasn’t the greatest and the majority of those snapshots had an orange “glow” and have somewhat faded over the years.

Then, in 1979, when I turned 21, my boyfriend (now husband) gave me my first single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm camera.  It was a gently used, manual, bayonet mount Pentax and it was love at first sight.  I still remember our trip to the Detroit Zoo a few days later, where I easily shot several rolls of film, as well as the excitement I felt when I saw the  35mm prints for the very first time.  By then, I had a full-time government job working as a secretary.  I could now afford some of life’s little luxuries, such as  35mm film and the cost of processing.  I read “how-to” books, took classes, bought additional equipment and honed my skills.  Friends and family were impressed with my images.  I was told I had an “eye” for photography, but I certainly wasn’t about to quit my day job to turn pro. I remained an amateur, but I became the unofficial  photographer at work, at home and at family events. I was always behind the camera, capturing  those special moments on film, filling numerous photo albums and preserving memories!

My Pentax and I were pretty much inseparable until it was covertly stolen from me during the last day of our vacation in Hawaii in April 1987, where my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. The sadness of losing my faithful friend was quickly washed away once I bought its replacement – a brand spanking new 35mm SLR bayonet mount Super Programmable Pentax.  This new and improved technological wonder had both a manual mode and a fully automatic mode.

When our son was born a few months later, he became the center of my world, my star photography subject.  During the next 18 years, I shot hundreds, actually more like thousands, of rolls of film, documenting his life.  I became the unofficial photographer for many of his sports teams and the mom who created the annual team yearbooks.

Despite the digital revolution, I remained true to my film photography roots.  I resisted the urge to jump on the digital bandwagon.  I was still madly in love with my Pentax and the results of my film photography still made me very happy.  Then my husband did it again. He gave me my first digital camera on Christmas Day 2003.  It was just a little “point and shoot” Kodak EasyShare DX6440 and it certainly wasn’t love at first sight. But it was enough to make me realize that there was room in my photography life for this new technology.  I used both the digital Kodak and my trusty Pentax to document my son’s high school years.  In the below photo, I am wearing my trusty Pentax while visiting Ketchican with my husband and son during our Alaskan Cruise in June 2002.

By the time my son graduated in 2006, I was using the digital Kodak exclusively. I no longer resisted the new technology, I embraced it.  And then in December 2006, I fully converted.  I purchased my first DSLR, a Canon EOS Rebel XTi.  Needless to say, I spent the next five years taking more pictures than ever before.  With the explosion of  social media technology, I welcomed the opportunity to easily share my hundreds of images with family and friends.

As I began to prepare for retirement from my day job, I was encouraged to consider pursuing my dream of becoming a professional photographer.  After spending several months considering my options, I took the plunge in December 2011 and became the sole proprietor of “Memories Preserved by Linda”.  I purchased a Canon EOS 60D along with some other equipment, started blogging and more importantly began building my portfolio.  In April 2013, I re-launched my small business as MPL Photography LLC and created my official portfolio website.  After almost 37 years as an employee of the State of Michigan, the last 29 years providing administrative support tot he Michigan State Police, I officially retired from my day job on August 31, 2013.  Below is a photo from my official send-off (I’m the one in the green top with the GIGANTIC smile).

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I’ve spent most of my life capturing and preserving memories for family and friends.  I am looking forward to having the opportunity to share my passion and creativity with the rest of the world.  It will be through hard work and determination, continuing education and peer support, but I am determined to SUCCEED!

 “LIVING THE DREAM”

A Desert Photographer

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