At first glance, you wouldn’t think this photo represents achievement. But there’s a story behind it, like with many great photos.
I’ve been interested in photography for a long time. The first job I remember wanting was a photographer for National Geographic. A pretty sophisticated dream for a 7-year-old, eh?
When I was 14, I did a weeklong photography program at Oregon College of Art and Craft and completely fell in love with the medium.
One of our assignments was a self-portrait, and I struggled. A lot. I took lots of shots and wasn’t happy with any of them. Nothing would come out the way I wanted.
Then I got this shot. I liked it well enough to submit for critique. My teacher pulled it up on the screen.
I heard a murmur of “cool.” Somebody else said that they liked it. Someone wished it had been closer up.
My teacher said it reminded him of photographer Annie Leibovitz’s fantastical style, and that it was successful. That I was successful.
I don’t remember the teacher’s name or what he looks like, but I’d say that those words are probably half the reason I’m still taking photos today. I’ll never forget feeling such a strong sense of achievement and pride in my work.