Hello! If you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhat familiar with who I am. But some of you may not know the whole story of how I got started… so I’ll start from the beginning!
In a nutshell, I can credit my entire career to one person…my grandfather.
I picked up my first camera when I was 16 years old. My grandpa, who was also a photographer, gave me an old Canon AE-1 35mm camera to start with. It was a great camera to learn on, sturdy and solidly built. I could tell by the care he showed when teaching me how to use it, that it was a treasure to behold.
And behold, I did.
As I developed my skill in composition, exposure, lighting, etc., he was always asking me to bring over my photos for him to critique. And man, was he a tough critic! Though painful at times, I learned a lot from him. He really helped me sharpen my eye at a young age. I can honestly say that, without his mentoring (brutal honesty), I would not be the photographer I am today.
When I graduated from high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Europe with my dad and sister. I had my graduation gift – a *new* canon rebel – strapped to my neck the ENTIRE time! I remember being so excited to come home and show my Grandpa my photos. I put them all together in a tidy little photo album (complete with 4×6 prints…remember those?!) and gave it to him to review. He looked carefully at each image. Inside, I was cringing, wondering what he would say. Much to my surprise, he handed the book back to me and said, “You’ve got a good eye. Nice work.” And that was that. He was a man of few words, but that affirmation was all I needed to set my sights on the rest of my life.
Remembering this moment in time brings tears to my eyes, even now some 20+ years later.
At college, I was one of the rare kids that declared their major with in the first quarter. No big surprise what it was…Photography. After I proved that my interest in photography was more of than just a hobby, my grandpa gave me his prized Minolta Twin Lens Reflex 2 1/4 camera. Now THAT was a treasure. I still remember him teaching me how to load film and focus through the flip up viewfinder. I was completely mesmerized and inspired. I was able to view the world from such a unique and different perspective!
Conveniently, my grandfather also had a darkroom in his basement which he let me spiff up and make my own. It was a much more relaxing environment to work in than the crowded photography lab at college. Especially in the wee hours of the night! I had my own enlarger, my own music, my own system of doing things. Many a long night did I spend down there. The smell of the fixer permeated my being!
My fondest memory from those days is the quality time I was able to spend with my aging grandparents. Every time I was there, my grandma would yell down the stairs…”Meg, suppers’ ready!” As a poor college kid, this was music to my ears! I would totally loose track of time when I was working in the dark room and I appreciated the breaks. I would come upstairs, and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal with them. We’d chat, discuss how their day was so far, and what I was up to at school.
I’m so grateful for those memories.
Funny, I don’t know that I’ve ever reminisced about those days until now for some reason. I have no doubt that those experiences have deeply impacted my affection for what I do.
My grandpa died in 1999 while I was living in NYC, pursuing my passion, working for Jill Greenberg. It was hard to not be home when he passed. I loved him so. My grandma died in 2004 not too long after, I gave her a tour of my new photography studio (the same studio I have now).
So here’s to you, grandma & grandpa! Look at me now!
I’m 100% sure they are both smiling down on me and what I’ve made of my passion.