My Friend Died and How I Discovered Photography

My journey with photography has been an adventurous one. I've not talked about it for some years but seeing since I'm in my 10th year of business and about to turn 40 I thought it would an appropriate time for me to talk about how I got started. While everyone's path in life is different and equally valid this is mine.

Like many people I got into photography by accident. When I was 18 a close friend of mine was killed in a car accident. His fiancee gave me his SLR film camera. I had no idea what the reason was for this as I never knew Travis was into photography. Travis was 23 at the time he was killed. I was an only child so to me Travis was like the big brother I never had. Our big thing was riding our motorcycles and playing video games and when he suddenly passed away I was shattered.

Angry at Travis's death and confused about inheriting his camera I took it home and started to look through my piles of prints..then it hit me and it hit me hard as hell. Never, not once did I have a photograph with Travis. Talk about a shitty day. It was at that moment my life was forever changed and I realized how powerful a photograph can be.

What happened further put me on the path that lead me to where I am today. Angry at the world, mad at myself for not having a photograph of Travis and I, I began to read everything I could on photography. I started with the manual to the Canon Rebel Xs I inherited. I struggled to understand what all the buttons and dials and strange icons meant. Then I got to the shutter and aperture. Shutter speeds I understood pretty quick but it was the aperture that was really difficult for me to grasp so I got some books. First book I got was the 35mm Photographers Handbook which I still have to this day. I kept the book and the camera manual with me everywhere I went and when I would shoot I would write down detailed notes in a note book I made myself. :-)

To say Travis's death transformed my life would be true. It was the event in my life that got me started on a path the brought me to many friends, locations and someone very special to me; my wife Valdese.

Happy 44th Travis. I think about you often and hope to honor your life with my work.

In Loving Memory of Travis Lee Miller
July 5, 1971 - November 17, 1994