Deflated…

My two oldest daughters, Fallon and Auberry.

I’m a geek. I talk golden hour, full-frame/crop, medium format, RGB, B&W, potassium ferricyanide, PMK (pyro-metol-kodalk), Oriental paper, velvia, f-stop, filter, strobe, aperture, logorithms, over/under, push/pull, grain, hyperfocal distance, depth of field, mask, density, 18% grey, MacBeth, densitometer, color head, soup, acetic acid, sodium vapor lamps, ISO, ASA, tilt-shift, ground glass, plates, pinhole, rangefinder, SLR, TLR…

Photography isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. It makes me a geek, knowing the language of the geekdom and the penultimate event for any geek is Geekfest.

My first day in a real newsroom was for Evergreen newspapers, four community weeklies near the foothills, and higher, northwest of Denver. I cried all the way down the hill because I felt like I had found my place in this world, and it had taken more than three decades to get there. I picked up a camera when I was 11 —Canon AE-1, 50mm 2.8— and never put it down. It has film in it now, Delta 3200 —beautiful grain— in high school the only reason I graduated was because I passed my photography class.

I wanted to go to Colorado Mountain College. They had a photograpy program whose graduates were shooters —photographers—for NatGeo —National Geographic—. My dad wouldn’t pay for me to go to school to learn photography. Photography was not a career, it was a hobby. You go to school to be an accountant. I was also accepted to the marine biology program at Hawai’i, so I decided if photography was out, distance was in. I never made it. The only reason I wanted to do that was to get underwater- with a camera. At least I figured that out before I was on an island in the Pacific. Not a bad place to get lost, but still.

No other options remained open, so the day I graduated I moved out with a friend. Within a year I was engaged. Within two I had a baby. Within four I was divorced with two babies.

In 1997 my mom convinced me to go to school. She said my dad wouldn’t have to know what I studied, and since he wasn’t paying for it, it wasn’t his business. It took me ten years to get two degrees, one in fine art photography, another in photojournalism, My GPA was .02 short of graduating cum laude. It wasn’t exactly a secret what I studied, and I pressed forward, ignoring the comments.

My final year I received four Mark of Excellence awards, as well as another two shared with the staff of The Metropolitan. I received grants, scholarships and awards based on my portfolios. I was published. I sold images to newspapers as well as art. I turned down internships. I turned down a staff position. I am good at this. It wasn’t a pipe dream.

So the first day of my internship, I drove down the mountain in tears. Because I had found myself.

For the past five-ish years I have been trying to get to the mecca of my geekiness. This year, I paid my fee, I booked my flight, I reserved my room. At 4:30 a.m. tomorrow morning I was to be at DIA. Yesterday I had to cancel it all, because at the last minute I had nobody to watch my nine year old daughter. So I am here. Disillusioned, disheartened, disappointed. I don’t get to go live all my geeky dreams this weekend with a bunch of other geeks like me. I guess this was all just to explain how much I would miss it.

Life, it seems, gets in the way. Particularly when you live it backwards (as my mom used to put it). Even so she was so proud of me. She told me she was. She understood me, she supported me, I miss her.

Next year. Next year I will make it to Geekfest.

And no the picture has little to do with the post. I needed studio fun time after I cancelled my trip. This is what happened.

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