8 years old. Give or take.
That’s about the time a camera first landed in my hands.
It was a Kodak Instamatic. A small black and sliver plastic box. I had toys more complicated.
Here is what I knew about photography at the age of 8:
1. You push a button.
2. Do it again and again until you fill up a roll.
3. Take it to get developed.
4. You see what you got.
Also when I was 8, I had tons of action figures. Just like a lot of kids. Unlike a lot of kids, I didn’t so much play with them as direct them.
I built sets. I staged scenes. If I didn’t get a scene right in my head, I’d do it again. I switched viewing angles for better composition. It frustrated me that I couldn’t get low enough to the ground for dramatic angles when my Hot Wheels cars “drove” by.
I wasn’t consciously aware of these things. I was only 8. But this was how I always played with my toys.
One day, an epiphany.
I grabbed that Instamatic camera and I photographed my action figures. Over an entire afternoon, I meticulously created sets and photographed scenes.
I was telling a story. With photos.
I’m no longer 8. My camera is a bit better than that old Instamatic. I know how to adjust the aperture and shutter speed and ISO to get the exposure I want. I know composition rules. I know what lenses and lighting to use to get the image I see in my head.
And I sometimes still think it’s fun to push the button just to see what I get.
I still tell stories.
My camera is often with me. You might call it my security blanket. I would deny it. But I know it’s true. If I show up without my camera, friends are only slightly less surprised than if I were to show up without a leg.
Some other things you should know about me:
My brain is like a fly strip for movie and pop culture trivia. Don’t be alarmed if I speak in movie quotes. Play along if you can. Humor me otherwise.
I enjoy fine wines and fine cigars. Tipping your photographer in cigars is never a bad thing.
I believe that on some instinctual level, all humans know it’s only a matter of time until the zombies show up. If you want to hire me to shoot a zombie-themed wedding, you will be my best friend for life. That is a fact.
I still photograph toys…
— Robert Wurth