Why I Became A Photographer

Rhonda Forsberg Photography kids2The other day someone asked me why I became a photographer. After reflecting on this for a moment, I began to count the reasons how my interest in photography began and what it means to me now.

When I was young girl I had a series of Kodak Instamatics,  a Kodak 110 and even a Polaroid SX-70. I was silly and I played (fun). Later while I was in high school I wrote for the newspaper and I was asked to take pictures for both the paper and the yearbook. The first time I held a ‘real’ camera in my hands I was given a quick overview on how to use it, loaded it with film and I was on my way. I taught myself how to read light and how to make a correct exposure. How adjustments of aperture and shutter speed related to film sensitivity and could either make or break an image. I began to experiment. Films. Processes. Taught myself how to develop and print in the darkroom. I made plenty of mistakes but it was such a wonderful way to learn. The more I photographed the more I saw things in my world change. I began to notice light, shadows, shapes, colors, textures, patterns, people, buildings, trees, and flowers. It didn’t take long for me to realize that photography changed the way I experienced everyday things.

Something I’ve always valued is the ability photography has to keep me present. I have to be aware of everything in order to capture it. I’m not thinking about what project I need to complete or what emails I need answer. It’s very freeing. Just the idea that I can capture a moment and have it forever can be quite exhilarating.

Learning to become a great photographer is a serious challenge. I always want to be learning something new and pushing myself to try new things. For this reason I never find photography boring. It’s a way I can tell a story with one image or a series of images and share my perspective with others. When I make a photograph I hope to can evoke an emotion in others. I know that I have experienced a range of emotions when I look at a powerful image. Some images have even changed the way I view the world. Strong stuff.

Photography allows me to connect with people in a unique way. When I photograph a person I try to capture their essence and sometimes it can be a huge challenge. But when I achieve it, I know it right away and it’s an incredible feeling. Even though it may take a series of photographs to capture the nuances of a person, photography has a way of showing subtleties that can be hard to describe with just words.

As I continue to shoot, I learn more about myself, what I value, and how I see the world just like I did in the beginning. I’ve watched trends come and go. Film come and (almost) go. Processes disappear. Wet darkrooms become dry darkrooms. Light tables become Lightroom. It’s been an adventure and one I hope keeps moving me forward the rest of my life.