I received my first camera when I was 9. A Polaroid—imagine, watching the picture come to life in minutes! That was a novelty back in the day. My first album is a random collection of square, poorly lit, fuzzy photos of my dog, my brother, and the Minnie Ha-Ha paddlewheel steamboat on Lake George.
It wasn’t until high school that I really got the bug. In those days, you would usually find me with my best friend Donna. We did pretty much everything together. We were both in the band and took French. We were on the volleyball and track teams—go Trojans! Donna would often come home with me after practice; we’d crush a bag of cheese doodles and “do homework” until her mom picked her up on her way home from work. We were Donna and Anne. We were a pair. I’m fairly certain we had classmates who didn’t know which one of us was Anne and which was Donna.
Sophomore year, Donna took photography as one of her electives—a bold attempt to set herself apart. That was, until she decided to use our 200-year-old colonial as the backdrop for her class project. I trailed her from room to room, fascinated as she contemplated composition and sought the perfect light.
For Christmas that year, my parents gave me a Pentax K-1000. The very same camera Donna had, naturally. I don't know if she was irritated by my honing in on her gig, but if so, it didn’t stop her from teaching me a thing or two. I learned enough from her to snap some pretty decent shots during our exchange trip to France the following February. That was pretty much it for me. I was totally hooked!
It’s been 36 years (and eight cameras) since Donna and I were high school sophomores. Sadly, life took us in different directions after we graduated—though we reconnected via Facebook a few years ago. I’ve definitely been thinking about her a lot in recent days. Now that I’m finally going to turn my hobby (okay, obsession) into something more, I realize I have Donna to thank for getting me started in the first place!
So, cheers to Donna—thanks for all the silly memories. And thanks for introducing me to my life-long love of photography!