People always comment how happy I must be to have my dream job. And I think... I love being a photographer but it was never actually my dream job. But if I look back at my life, I was always headed in that direction. So I suppose me and photography were always meant to be.
The first camera I owned was a tiny camera that came from a cereal box. (Didn't you just love finding the prizes in cereal boxes?!) That first camera was very basic. You'd snap the film on to the camera, and shoot away! I loved pictures. As a child I'd thumb through National Geographic's and imagine traveling around the world taking pictures. But even then, my dream was to become a teacher. I continued to want to be a teacher, with brief dreams of becoming a lawyer or a fireman, until high school.
In high school I had no idea what I wanted to do. By then I owned an olympus point-and-shoot film camera that I brought with me wherever I was. I took pictures of EVERYTHING. I loved photography. I tried to get into the photography class, but was rejected. I was on the yearbook staff, but even then I got rejected. I became a copywriter and secretly longed to be one of the photographers. At that point, I had a good eye and knew a good picture when I saw it. I had a strong creative background and knew that somehow I had the potential to be good at photography. But even then I never committed to the idea of becoming a photographer. While I was interested in photography, I put photography on the back-burner; I imagined I'd do it on the side or when I was a stay-at-home-mom. (Imagine, I wanted to be one of those mom-tographers. haha.)
When I applied to colleges I still didn't know what to do. I applied to colleges in graphic design, graphic communications, architecture and aviation. When it was time to pick a college I chose architecture over becoming a pilot. Notice how I didn't even consider photography? haha. That senior year in high school I was taking endless amount of pictures (and still couldn't get into the photography class). I continued to take pictures whenever I could. I wanted everything documented.
In college I absolutely loved architecture. I loved everything about it. It appealed to my technical and artistic interests. I learned a lot and loved it. As part of my architecture projects I needed to take pictures a lot. I had to photograph the sites of my projects, my research, my process and my final models. During that time I learned a lot about what appealed to my photographic eye. I look back on some of those pictures and they still appeal to me. As part of my architecture program, I even learned photo editing. We had an assignment where we were given a digital file of an old picture scanned on a dirty scanner and had to fix the color and clean up the image. It was great. I continued to take pictures well after graduating college, and still it had not occurred to me to make a career out of photography.
Now that I am a photographer, I think it's pretty funny that photography as a career never occurred to me. To me it was always some lofty idea that I'd do somewhere done the road, I suppose. Cameras and photography were always a constant in my life so I don't know what I was thinking! I love being a photographer. I love my life. I love photography found me.
So what's your dream job? Has it found you yet?