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Photography always has been a fun hobby, but with modern technology, its popularity has grown.
While technology has made it easier and more affordable to document and create, other innovations, such as social media, have made it easier to share. And as these trends develop, more and more people are connecting with their inner artist and delving into photography.
Amateur photographer Madge Hearne has enjoyed the hobby all her life.
“I like telling the story through still pictures,” she said. “It’s very powerful to me.”
When she took a photography class as an adult, she started to understand the science of taking pictures. But she attributes the popularity to preserving memories. That’s why scrapbooking became more popular, Hearne said.
Digital photography also made it more convenient, she said.
“It’s so much more accessible and instantaneous than taking pictures with a film camera, taking the cartridge to the store and waiting for the prints to be developed only to have disappointing results,” she said.
She remembers justifying the expense of buying her first digital camera with the ability to only print the pictures she wanted instead of the whole roll.
Improvements in smartphone cameras have spread the photo bug even farther.
“But, it’s Instagram that gives people the power to be creative with their pictures in a way that you could only do with Photoshop before,” she said. “With the click of a button, you’ve transformed your picture into something artsy and with another click, you’ve shared it with the masses who immediately comment and validate how cool your picture is.”
For John Burgess, taking pictures always has been a big deal.
When his parents bought his first camera in 1979, a Canon Sure Shot, he began his pursuit to get “the next shot.”
It’s passion for the art form that drives Burgess.
“It offers many extremes, yet very subtle nuances, in the ways we can look at and capture the world,” he said. “The ability through social media to share this has had a great impact on photography as well.”
Burgess started out shooting on 35 millimeter film and even though he loves the texture and feel of a physical photograph, he can’t justify the cost.
The cost of developing a 24-exposure roll of film is about the cost of an SD memory card that can hold hundreds of photos, he said.
Today, Burgess uses a blog to share his love of photos and learns from other blogs.
Some have taken their love of photography as a hobby and turned it into a career. Marnie Clagett is one of them.
When her mother gave her a Kodak Disc camera at age 13, she was hooked. In high school, she took a journalism class.
“I remember going up to West Point to take pictures for class and loving every minute of it,” she said. “I still have the contact prints I made from an image of their baseball fields.”
But she didn’t consider photography as a career because all the photographers she knew were middle-aged men working in studios.
“I wasn’t seeing women behind a camera, so it didn’t occur to me that it could be my career one day,” she said.
Rachel Maucieri got the bug early, too. Her mom took so many pictures of Maucieri and her brother, Lance, when they were growing up, it made Lance hate it, but she loved it.
“When I was in high school, I probably went through at least one or two disposable cameras a week and had all of my prints stapled to my walls,” she said. “As I got into college, I started to think more seriously about it and began to photograph things besides just my friends and my food.”
When she was a college freshman, peers started asking her to take their headshots and other fun photos. She wondered if she was good enough to start charging for pictures.
“To be honest, I probably wasn’t at the time, but, hey, you have to start somewhere,” she said.
Then, Maucieri was accepted to the University of Louisville’s art department. She also has been working in a studio for two years.
For Clagett, people had noticed her photos and started asking her to take pictures of their children.
“It became clear very quickly that I needed to make a choice: Was I going to do this as a career or a hobby?” she said. “I decided to go ahead and pursue the career.”
Maucieri said blogs, websites and Pinterest are ways for those interested to gather ideas and find inspiration.
“Whether they have the greatest equipment or not, I think photography is something that everyone wants to at least be decent at, and they should,” she said. “Capture your life.”
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.