When I Grow Up, I... | Teen Ink

When I Grow Up, I...

March 30, 2013
By lovelivesinthesun GOLD, Columbus, Ohio
lovelivesinthesun GOLD, Columbus, Ohio
17 articles 7 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
-Sylvia Plath

I’ve always loved photography. Something about the fact that the click of a lens at the right moment, the right time, can capture the most magical things. For a while I was just taking pictures of flowers and grass and the sun and calling it photography. At least I believed in myself. I’ve also always loved writing and journalism. I never really knew what a photojournalist was or did, but I liked the title, so that’s what I wanted to be. Such is life.

As a teenager growing up in college-obsessed America, my fear and anxiety of not getting into a college (a good one, at that) have been fluctuating exponentially since eighth grade. Photography always in the back of my mind. I never wanted to pigeon hold myself though, by going to a purely art school. Like many college-goers before me, there’s a good chance I’ll have some life changing epiphany or near-death experience that makes me want to change my major. (I’m only half-kidding.) With preconceived, negative connotations about going to school in-state, my anxiety only heightened.

A few weeks ago my mother asked me if I wanted to tour Ohio University. I said yes because I didn’t care either way. I toured the beautiful campus and thought,

“I can see myself here.” I can. But my tour left some up to the imagination. My mother insisted we go to the arts building and see the photojournalism department. I always felt like my mother wanted this more for me than I did, but I remained tight-lipped and moved past the fear of disappointing my mother. I asked the woman at the desk if anyone could talk to me about the photojournalism department. She seemed flustered and reluctant, telling me that everyone was in meetings, but if I took a seat she may be able to find me someone. I took a seat. About 10 nervous minutes later, a jolly man with a gray beard pulled up a chair beside me and spoke to me about the success of the department. I already knew that Ohio University had the best photojournalism program in the country, but he only hinted towards such. He showed me photographs and talked a little about portfolios, as well as showing me around and letting me listen in on classes. I was surprised that the best photojournalism department in the country was operated out of such a damp, space in the basement of a building probably built no later than the 1970s. My mind was sparked, though, and the gears in my photographic mind began to turn.

Fast forward three days. I’m really in love with the band Mumford & Sons. “Really in love” actually doesn’t explain it enough, but that’ll have to do. On my second stop of the day in search of Rolling Stone with Mumford & Sons on the cover, I felt butterflies when I spotted it on a shelf just above my eye level. I took it home and flipped directly to the article. The title page of the article was a photograph of the four musicians passionately playing their instruments, eyes closed. This still picture conveyed something quite beautiful. Without sound, without movement, I could still hear the music in my head, the sound of clammy fingers moving up and down guitar strings to create a clambering chord. Without any sound or movement, the photo put me in a moment of imagination, painting a picture and leaving the sounds and movements to my mind. The next photo in the article was a photo of the lead singer, Marcus, grinning onstage and stomping his foot. I could hear the stomping of his foot, the music playing in the background, the crowd roaring. I could feel the electric excitement Marcus felt with his hand raised in the air.

This is what I want to do. It hit me. It was the clarity I wasn’t expecting, nor waiting for. I’m not looking to be the next Annie Leibovitz (as cool as that would be) but I think Rolling Stone just showed me what I want to be. When I grow up, I want to be a....

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