My Mind's Eye

When I was a kid I took a photography class in high school. I could see a picture in my mind's eye, a scene I had witnessed in those beautiful mountains where I grew up, so I set about creating my vision. I photographed a sunset. Then I shot a self-portrait on a timer, looking up at God, wearing my duster and my cowboy hat. After that, I painstakingly went to work with my Exacto knife, cutting myself out, then some mountains, a tree, and a cliff. I physically layered them all together and photographed this picture. It was shot on 35mm film. I remember the smell of the chemicals still today as I developed the negatives in the darkroom. I remember the timer and how tedious of a task it was to let in just enough light to expose the print just right, then watching that white sheet of paper begin to come alive in the bath with amazing color. What once was a thought, just an idea, was forming before my eyes, here in the real world. Finally, it was done, hanging up to dry! I looked at my creation. This silhouette that I had imagined was now in my hands, and that was it. The possibilities of a whole new world opened up to me. I was only 16 years old. Just a year before a rough draft, public version of a virtually unknown computer program was released into the wild. It would be another 8 years before I got my hands on a copy, and finally had a camera of my own to play with. They called it Photoshop.

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