The first photographs Kathy remembers taking were of Niagara Falls, during a trip there with her family in the early 1960s. She thinks she was using a Brownie. For a long time after that, she didn’t take many pictures, leaving it to her parents to capture most of the important family moments. She does recall taking some good photos of her students on Track & Field Day though, when she was an elementary school teacher. All she remembers about the photography course she took during that time is one assignment.
Kathy’s interest in taking photos increased when she had children of her own, but again she left it to others to capture most of the important memories.
When she got her first digital camera in 2004, a Canon Powershot, she began taking pictures of her expanding gardens and of the beautiful places she travelled in the summer and as a touring author.
In 2012 Kathy was pleased to have several photos she took while working with writers in Liberia published in a high school anthology — and to be paid for their use.
That same year Kathy got an iPhone 4S and it quickly became her camera of choice. By then she had taken many hundreds of photos and soon she would have hundreds more. One photo taken near her home in the spring of 2013 was published in her local paper.
Often inspired by photographs taken by extended family members, many of Kathy’s photos were beginning to go beyond mere snapshots in terms of their impact.
In 2015 Kathy started taking her interest in photography more seriously. She watched videos online about how to take better photos and enrolled in an online course, and then another and another. She studied photos in various online communities, read books and e-books, and took more and more photographs of family and friends, her dog, her gardens, her home, her neighbourhood walks, and her travels — pretty much anything in the world around her was a potential subject. And she was bringing to what she was doing an increasingly critical eye and her growing skills with her iPhone and with post-processing. Encouraged by her online teacher, Joy Sussman, she was becoming an artist, and not just a witness.
Frustrated with some of the limitations of her iPhone, but still wanting similar portability, Kathy got a Lumix ZS50, a versatile point-and-shoot, in the spring of 2016. In the fall of that year, she submitted two photos in response to an assignment given by oopoomoo Creatives, one of the communities she enjoys checking in with. They were test driving the assignment for an upcoming class they would soon be offering, which she was thinking of taking. She did the assignment just for fun, never imagining she’d win the prize of free admission to that upcoming (January 2017) class.
Kathy might some day graduate to a DSLR camera but for now she’s happy exploring, with what she has, the many possibilities for capturing a sense of the extraordinary in the “ordinary” worlds around her.