I’ve been a photographer, a painter, and a writer. The need to create has always been a part of my life. I started writing poetry at a very early age. My poems were published in our high school literary magazine and then in college literary magazines. As a teenager, I convinced my father to pay to have my poems published in an anthology of young poets.
Eventually, I worked as the Dublin correspondent for the Peterborough Transcript, in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I was paid by the column inch. In a town of 1,500, there wasn’t a lot of news so I moved on to photography.
In what you might call the “Dark Ages”, I had a dark room. As a little girl, I shot in black and white with the brownie box camera that my father handed down to me (the camera at the top of the photo below). Then there were the instamatic cameras. I had a green Kodak one my mother got for me by sending in labels for one thing or another. Then there was the pocket instamatic. I used to carry that in my purse when I was a little older. In high school, for Christmas, I was given the choice of ski equipment or a 35mm camera. I went for the ski equipment. For a while there I was stuck with less-than-fabulous photography goods.
During my high school years, I also took up painting. I started with a set of oil paints in a nice wooden box. The box is long gone but the book I received along with the paints remains with me, even though I never liked it much. A couple of years later came a watercolor class after school. Then there was the watercolor class in college. And so I was always waffling back and forth between them from the beginning.
My first 35mm came after I was married and used some of the wedding gift money for a camera. Which of course led to a gazillion pictures of the kids growing up and every landscape scene that caught my eye. As a part-time photographer for the local newspaper, I got yet another perspective on picture taking. Alas, my lack of gathering information about said newspaper photos hindered me.
Eventually, my kids were old enough for me to move to full-time work as a graphic designer and there was no time for painting. But, that wooden box of oil paints followed along with me with every move I made. First, college in Boston, then an apartment in New Hampshire, a house in Florida, and 3 more houses in New Hampshire, it was indeed well-traveled paint box. My camera was being upgraded all along and my paints remained in their box.
In a sense, photography became my quick and dirty painting until one day I looked around and discovered the kids were grown. I’d quit my full-time job to help with my ailing mother and I discovered a most unlikely scenario. I had time to myself. I didn’t see that one coming!
Down in the basement, I dug out the paint box. There was nothing usable in there, save the box. The paints were hard as rocks and the brushes equally so. A trip to Boston for art supplies was in order. It was a most liberating, if not expensive, trip. From then on my photography took a back seat to painting. Photography was the way to capture an image in order to paint it, not a means in and of itself. Some things are better as paintings and some are just better as photographs. I’ll just leave it at that with gallery pages for each.
Now I’ve returned to writing, though I haven’t quit photography or painting but there are only so many hours in a day. I don’t understand the concept of not knowing what to do with your time when you retire. I don’t think I can ever retire, as long as those creative juices keep flowing.