In 2006 I wrote a short note on Facebook.
I sit, back against the wall alone in an open empty room. I grabbed my cell phone and looked at it before tossing it across the room. The room grew dark as the clouds moved in. In the distance thunder roared scaring me. The room grew even darker till nothing could be seen. I sat there preparing to give up when all of a sudden light appeared to the left of me. I looked over and stood up. I covered my face stumbling towards the bright room. I opened my eyes to find myself in a white walled room with a black object sitting to the left of where I stood. I walked over and reached down. As soon as I gripped the object the walls around me fell and the great outdoors was all around. It was time to shoot, the Canon was in my hands.
I remember the days before I wrote this. I was a photo student at Gwinnett Tech College, working at Target and a 24/7 Laundromat. I was up early, in class late, first to leave, late into work at Target, leaving late, then back to work at the laundromat. I thought I was doing a good job at this balancing act until I got called into my supervisors at Target office. He looked at me and asked, “What are you doing?” I just looked at him confused then he continued, “Look, you show up late and I don’t feel like you are dedicated to the goal of Target. You need to make a decision. Target or school.”
Obviously I chose school but I always wondered why would he put me in that position? Clearly I was not going to quit school for a part time job.
I tossed my red shirt and walked out. A week later the Laundromat closed. I was jobless but still had school until I got the call into the directors office. I could see the concern on her face I was failing and there wasn’t a way to catch me. I pleaded saying I could redo assignments while doing the next semester’s work and participating in extra credit and working in the lab longer (darkroom life) and doing whatever to make up the grades.
But those were not the solution to my situation. I walked out and cried in my car. I hated photo, I hated my school, and I was disappointed in myself. I vowed to never touch a camera again and to move on from the school. I gave up in that car.
These are the type of images I was making:
For three months I spent my time looking for a new job by sitting on my friend’s couch playing video games. I was on finacial aid suspension for low grades for a semester so no school, and I did not touch a camera. I kept telling myself that I was fine as I searched for work and a new school but the words quitter and failure continued to creep into my mind.
Then late one night while laying wide awake I looked up to see my camera sitting there on the closet shelf collecting dust. I just stared at it and asked myself, are you a quitter? Do you believe you are a failure? With all you have been through and come from what do you have to lose?
No, I am not a quitter. No I am not a failure. And I have nothing to lose.
This is when I realized and accepted that failure is apart of life. It should be embraced. This night was my turning point and I dove in, committing my life to photo.