My Camera and Me

I honestly am very excited for this week, because my whole life I’ve been known as the kid with the camera. Literally you could always find me with one–from when I was in elementary school playing with my dad’s point and shoot camera, to when I finally got my own in high school, to now when I have a disposable camera (and sometimes a vlog camera) on me at all times.

I love documenting a moment and I believe each photo/video has a story.

During high school I vlogged most of my major Senior year moments (shameless plug: you can check out on my YouTube Channel), and when COVID hit I was devastated. I learned that it wasn’t so much filming and editing that I loved, but preserving a moment that I want to remember forever.

So when I came to college, I ultimately knew I wanted to do this again–differently.

Over the summer, I made a new friend who brought disposable cameras with her EVERYWHERE. I realized how much I loved taking pictures with them and the excitement of the waiting process. Obviously, I decided this must be implemented in my daily life, and I brought a bunch with me to school.

My entire first semester experience is documented on film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have pictures of the funny moments with friends, the late night adventures, and obviously trips to Cook Out (I am from Maryland where we don’t have Cook Out, and I think that is what I missed most about going home for break). The best part about the pictures is that they all have a story… they have too.

Yeah, taking posed pictures for Instagram with my friends on a cell phone are fun, but they don’t always have an exciting one of a kind story. Usually it’s “Oh we went out to eat, looked cute, and wanted cute pics.” Which don’t get me wrong, IS A LOT OF FUN–I still enjoy getting ready and taking pictures “just because”. However, since you only have so many tries with the disposable camera, it’s almost become a game for me and my friends to see how we can get the best picture. The most authentic ones are the best–the one’s where my friends know I’m taking a picture and bust out a smile, but still keep doing whatever entertaining thing we decided was picture worthy.

I think if anything, I just want my pictures to mean something to me, and those around me. The most rewarding part is after I get them, send them to my friends, and they just laugh with me over how ridiculous we look and all claim our favorites.

College isn’t perfect, and I think the disposable camera is the best way to show that. I have had plenty of photos that are blurry, chopped off, or don’t turn out, but I still love every one. They are my pride and joy, and are displayed all throughout my room.

Although yeah, it isn’t extremely difficult to mess up with a disposable camera, I don’t think I would change a thing about my photography with them. I have shifted towards a reusable film camera in order to decrease the waste and help the environment, but otherwise, every “imperfection” in my photos is what makes them tell such great stories.

The pictures of me and my friends hanging out outside in the first week truly show how excited we all were to be experiencing college for the first time.

The pictures from my late night adventures to the Mary Washington Monument or downtown Fredericksburg remind me I can always make fun out of nothing.

The pictures of my friends in random clothes they cut up from Goodwill display how ridiculous we all really are.

But even outside of those instances, I have pictures of us making cookies together in the dorms, my first moments meeting my friends, the moment my roommate got a FALSE positive COVID test, and more.

A lot of people have been telling me that they are sorry I “am not getting the typical Freshman year experience.” Would I be happy if I didn’t have to wear a mask 24/7? YES! But is that the world we are living in right now? No. Every single one of my pictures tells the story of how I made the most of this situation–how although the world is a little different, you can still have fun, enjoy yourself, and be safe.

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