a hidden passion

I am not sure why it didn’t click sooner that photography was something I truly loved. I look back and the evidence is everywhere. I have a pic I took of my granddad with the Polaroid when I was no more than 5 where all you see is his head in the corner… lol. I also set up a photo shoot for my Barbie Dolls and photographed them. I developed them and was real proud but not sure where they went. I don’t even remember how old I was when I took those pictures, probably no more than 11. I have a ton of pics throughout my school years and was kind of particular about the film I used and how they turned out.
It wasn’t until I went to LA in 1998 that I actually had the thought “hmm, this would be fun to do as a job” when I developed a roll and saw the picture of Venice Beach. From there a genuine interest grew.
I began toying around with the idea… took some snapshots of my nieces and my friends niece and also kids at the daycare where I worked. I did not have a professional camera, just a point and shoot but I was still complimented on my photography.
I moved to Orlando in 2000 and about a year later I decided to take photography more seriously. I was working at a family owned photo lab and loved developing the photos and seeing all the different places, events and life stories that happen. I came home to visit and my dad and I discussed photography and how it was something I was interested in doing. I had a habit of changing my career at least once a year, from acting, to singing, to music marketing and promotions so I was not taken very seriously when it came to a new venture. Well, my dad went down in the basement and came back upstairs and presented me with a lovely Pentax camera that was about 10 years old. I was in awe, I was so thrilled, finally a real camera. It was my most treasured possession for two reasons, it was a SLR camera, but first and foremost it came from my father. I cried I was so happy. I went back to Orlando and would frequent bookstores and take notes in a composition book that I still use to this day and practiced with that camera.
I moved back to Grand Rapids in 2003 and unfortunately that camera was stolen out of our home, and I was and still am sick about it. Life took over for a while and I kind of didn’t pursue much as far as photography was concerned. Then I decided to go back to school for photojournalism. It dawned on me that my passion lied in photography and writing so why not combine the two. I bought a Canon Rebel GII film camera and began school. I was so excited. Well my personal life was a wreck, and my camera was a casualty of that situation. That also was the push I needed to get away from that person.
Here I sit three years later, a bit further in my endeavor but not much. I just know that I get a chill every time I push the shutter release and create a photograph that I love. There is just such a thrill, such a satisfaction that I get. Photography is my passion, my soul sings when I use a camera. I especially love photographing children. There is such a joy, I love capturing the moments of life, those times you never can get back. All I can think is if my granddad were alive he’d look at me and say “I coulda told you that a long time ago” and chuckle.

Geo P. Smith
my view of my granddad through a Polaroid when I was approximately 5 years old


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