My first job out of college was at CNN.com. I worked there from 1998 until the beginning of 2001. At some point around late 1999 I purchased my first digital camera, an Olympus D360L. It cost about $300, shot a whopping 1.3 megapixels, and came with a massive 8 megabyte SmartMedia memory card. It was a fun toy. I used to take it out to clubs and shoot with the flash off, trying to grab some candid shots.
At one point, I got a badly exposed shot of my friend Wes. I didn’t think much about it until I was playing around in Photoshop and tried to see just how much detail I could pull out. I started with this:
I fiddled with the light levels, cropped the extra bits out, tried converting it to black and white, and eventually wound up with this:
I started with a bad photo and would up with something I thought looked awesome. I’ve described it as a “Goth Cousin It with a universe behind his eyes” or just “cool.” Either way, this was when I realized a few things:
- A bad picture could be turned into a good picture
- A photo of a person could be turned into something more abstract.
- Don’t delete your bad photos, because you may be able to do something cool with them later.
- I was having a lot of fun doing this.
There were a lot of moments that made me love photography, and this was one of the first.