When I was a little kid, my parents made sure that we went on adventures to see the world, or at least the world that they had the time and means to expose us to, which usually meant our home state of Texas. From our home in East Texas, we went to easy-to-reach places such as Dallas and Fort Worth, and more-distant locales, such as Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Big Bend and the Rio Grande Valley. One of the common denominators of these trips was my late father carrying around his Minolta SRT-101 SLR with the “kit” 50mm lens permanently attached.
I was always fascinated by this mechanical wonder…if you took off the lens and clicked the shutter button, you could see the shutter curtain pop open for a split second. Pushing the lever over to advance the film would reset the curtain for the next shot. Ingenious and incredibly interesting for a little nerdy kid who harbored fantasies of building robots and walking on the Moon.
(Side note: I’ve still never built a robot and my chances of ever visiting the Moon are zero)
The fact that this little metal box with a tube of glass on the front could capture memories was—and still is—amazing to me. I still have thousands of my father’s negatives, awaiting for a time when I can get around to digitizing them before they fade away. I relished every chance he’d allow me to click the shutter button and make another celluloid memory.
By the time high school rolled around, I decided to join the yearbook. The staff was shorthanded and I ended up as a photographer. Or, more-often-than-not, the photographer. I loved spending time in the darkroom, processing film and printing it in the dim glow of the red safelight.
I’d hoped to continue doing photography as a hobby after high school, into college, but the reality of the cost of film, let alone maintaining and stocking a darkroom, precluded that. I took a couple of photojournalism classes just to have some access to a darkroom, but outside of that, I rarely took photos.
Graduation came and went and I started my career as a software developer, always thinking that one day I’d get back into photography. But the cost was always a blocker. Then digital cameras came onto the scene. Pricey at first, with not-so-great quality, I kept waiting for them to get better, knowing that memory cards and hard drive storage would be a lot cheaper than film.
Finally, a bit over twelve years ago, the Canon 400D came out and was in my price range. I dove right in. And I loved it.
Going on adventures to take photos was almost eclipsed by the relaxation and zen brought on by editing the photos on my PC. I quickly maxed out my PC’s hard drive with RAW files…I’d go out on a Saturday morning and not return until late in the evening, my CF cards full and my batteries dead.
I loved taking photos, but what good is capturing images if no one gets to see them?
Since there were few avenues for sharing photos—Instagram wasn’t around yet and Flickr was just getting rolling—I decided to create a photoblog. Photoblogs were big at the time, precisely because a lot of people found themselves in the same situation as myself—lots of photos, no where to display to the world.
My goal at the time was to post a photo every day for as long as I could keep it up. Now, twelve years later, I’m still posting a new photo every day.
A lot has happened in that twelve years. I got married. Changed jobs a few times. Moved around the DFW area. Switched from Canon to Panasonic to Sony. But one thing has been consistent and has kept me sane—posting a new photo every single day for over 4300 days straight.
This year, to celebrate the twelfth year of 75CentralPhotography, I put together a barcode representation of every photo posted from August 12, 2007 until today.
Each vertical line on this image is a representation of each photo posted to the site, compressed to 1 pixel wide and stitched together via a .NET app I threw together.
I think it’s an interesting artwork on it’s own, but as a visual representation of what twelve years of daily photos looks like, it’s a great visualization of the effort and passion that I’ve put into photography for over a decade.
As for 75CentralPhotography, I don’t have plans to stop posting photos daily, so fingers-crossed that I’ll be able to continue for years-to-come.
Thank you for your support for the last twelve years…I appreciate every one of my followers, fans and visitors.
(If you’re interested, you can read more about my personal photographic history at a post I did several years ago. It’s somewhat out-of-date, as it doesn’t cover the years I spent in the Micro Four-Thirds ecosystem and my subsequent transition (still-ongoing) to Sony, but it’s still informative. Or at least I think it is).