Pretty much as long as I can remember I have loved writing stories, making poetry, drawing, photography, music and other art forms.
Throughout my life I've used these as an escape from my somber reality. I a not patient enough to draw, paint or sculpt, but I can usually jot down a quick story or poem ... or at least work on some writing as I need a momentary mental vacation. I can lose myself in my writing ... become whatever character I want ... be normal ... be accepted ... and not have to hide. It is a form of catharsis. But alas, I must always return to my world and myself.
In high school I was introduced to photography. Real photography ... not Kodak Instamatic crappy snapshot picture taking, but real 35mm SLR, manual focus, manual settings classic 1970s Olympus camera style photography.
I fell in love.
My photography teacher, Mr. Wallace ... who in hindsight I believe was gay, but that means absolutely nothing, nor would it have had I figured it out back then ... Mr. Wallace took a keen interest in me. He said I see things differently. I learned a lot from that man and will always be thankful. Photography gave me a different outlet ... a quick, spur of the moment outlet to be me and show the world as the beautiful place it could be ... or the darker more menacing side I often saw.
In the darkroom I wasn't judged or ridiculed because I didn't develop the pictures in a manly enough fashion ... I was picked on and ridiculed by the wanna-be jocks in the class for a lot of things, and one of the assholes stole my watch, but in the darkroom I was equal ... while pressing the shutter release I was better than most in my class.
I bought my own 35mm camera after college, a Minolta X-700. I was in heaven. I had a couple lenses, some filters and a decent supply of film.
The euphoria was short lived. I had all the equipment, but could not afford to process the film.
Looking back, I do not think it's a coincidence that some of my toughest times in my life, some of my most miserable moments came at a time when I did not have photography as an outlet. On top of that was stacked the reality of society that I was a father, and therefore a man and I was expected to act as such.
I was desperate and near suicidal. Only the love for my wife and son kept me moving.
I am not touting photography as a cure-all for me or for anyone else, but it as much a part of me as the fact that I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually female. Photography spans the generations and the genders. It can show beauty in the midst of horror, and hope in the darkest hour.
I realize this entry is not focused on my journey or transition, but it is about me.
Here are a few more photos.