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Why I Love Photography

Until lately, I haven’t thought much about why I love photography. I just know I love it and figure that’s about it. I don’t usually dwell deeply on such thoughts; I just go with it.

But lately, I have thought about it. And it took me only a few minutes to come up with the answer.

Growing up, I remember visiting our great-grandmother and spending weekends at her home. I have several fond memories of my time with her during childhood. For example, she had a not-so-subtle silver metallic Christmas tree that rotated on a base. Although it was the opposite of natural, and all that was simple, it was a time of fun and frivolity I’ll never forget.

And she had her way of making a corned beef hash dish with a side of egg noodles. Crispy corned beef with diced potatoes. And the noodles with a creamy chicken soup sauce and lots of ground pepper. I still make this meal today, and it’s one that brings back so many great memories.

But MOST OF ALL, one of my favorite aspects of visiting Grandma, was the anticipation of getting to see and touch the latest National Geographic magazine.

And I say “see” because I remember looking at the National Geographic magazines before I could even read. For me, it wasn’t about learning the textual content in National Geographic. It was about slowly, ever-so-slowly, adoring every National Geographic PHOTOGRAPH. I turned each page with respect and care. I can still smell the ink, feel the glossy paper, and make that connection to sitting with my Grandma while she read the captions.

Fast forward a couple of years. Grandma introduced me to her Brownie Hawkeye camera. The Brownie Hawkeye was a small camera produced by Eastman Kodak, beginning in the late 1940s.

And now, as I write, I am becoming emotional. But here it is — my Grandmother’s Brownie Hawkeye, circa 1950. Additionally, she gave me this camera, my first. It’s a little rough-looking but still works.

I love photography for so many reasons, but my Grandma and her introducing me to National Geographic are the most significant influences.

Also, in case you are wondering about her photographs, I should let you know that I have (and cherish) all of her photos and her scrapbooks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I much appreciate it!

Debra Gail

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