CourtneyCo Photography


Before I had a Camera.

                                   Me and my friend from high school on one of her shoots. 

                                   Me and my friend from high school on one of her shoots. 

We all have those decisive moments--those fleeting seconds--when a choice is made that alters the trajectory of our lives. It was my choice to walk out of a figure drawing class and into a photography class just as the bell rang that led me to become a photographer.

I wasn't signed up for classes my last semester. I had already taken all of the classes I needed to graduate. I was just waiting for my thesis to be approved so I could defend it and graduate. However, there was a figure drawing class I had been wanting to take forever, so I thought I would take that one class while my thesis pended approval. The class was only offered once during the week and as I copied down the time and place into my planner, I noticed that there was also an intro to photography class taught at the same time.

Memories flashed backed to high school, when I was focused on painting in AP art classes but always felt a longing to take up photography. My best friend in art class was a photographer. She had a nice camera and was always going out on photoshoots. I would have too, if I could have. I would have picked up photography with a vengeance had I had a camera, but I didn't nor did I see getting one in the foreseeable future. I contented myself with accompanying my friend on her photoshoots, sometimes making suggestions and sometimes capturing images with her camera. It was always “one day I'll have a camera, one day I'll study photography, one day I'll be a photographer”...

Eight years later as I glanced at the schedule for an intro to photography class in the class catalog I thought about that long-held dream--that unfulfilled desire to be a photographer. I still didn't have a camera, so I wasn't sure how I could really take that class. Plus, it was only offered during the time the figure drawing class was going to be offered. Still, some longing inside of me caused me to write down the time and place of the photography class.

On the first day of classes, I went to my figure drawing class. In the back of my mind I was constantly thinking about that photography class. But I didn't have a camera. The studio was empty with only a few easels out. There were only a couple of students in the classroom besides me. We all looked a little lost, unsure of what to do. The professor wasn't there. He hadn't shown up yet and I started getting anxious, nervous. Then, just as the bell began to ring, without thinking I ran out of the classroom, down the hall, to the other side of the building, into another classroom, just as the professor began to introduce his course, Introduction to Photography 116.

I'm not sure why in a split second I made a choice to run out of my figure drawing class. I think if the professor had been there I would have stayed but he wasn't, and just as the bell rang I found myself in a photography class. As the professor went over the class syllabus, he informed us that if any of the students did not have a camera for the class projects they could check one out to use through the semester. That was it. That was all the information I needed to stay in the class. I never went back to my figure drawing class, and in a decisive moment the trajectory of my life changed. Photography was now something that was in my grasp, finally for the first time, and I was not letting go.