The photo was taken on March 30, 2007, in Alt Park, Cincinnati, Ohio. We had an unusually early, rapid and hot Spring that year.
I began getting more interested in photography after my daughter was born. Before that, I also tried taking pictures of whatever objects might interest me - in particular, I remember my very first trip to Saint Petersburg (Russia) when I was still a teenager (14 or 15 years old), as a part of a school children's group. The boys in our group made fun of me as all I seemed to care about were the architectural details, buildings and sculptures which this amazing city is filled with. Not people, and especially not those boys, interested me photographically then (OK, I admit - boys did interest me, though I hid it pretty well even from myself) - but it was the architecture, the atmosphere of that beautiful town which captured my heart forever. You see, I grew up in a small blue collar town which was the same age as myself. All the buildings looked the same and pretty boring. (I loved my hometown, but not for its architecture.) When I first landed in Saint Petersburg, I could not believe that people actually lived there - went to school, to work, shopping; seeing and feeling this beauty every single day of their lives. So I tried to capture as many places and buildings as I could with my small, but heavy black and silver camera. Most of my photos turned out to be way too dark, or overexposed, or blurry...
But back then, we only had a manual camera (mine was called Smena - "Смена" in Russian) and black and white film. I loved the magic of the process of film development and photographic printing in a dark room with only a special red lantern in it, a bedroom temporarily transformed for this purpose, all the cracks under the door tucked carefully with rolled up blankets - very special times which my father and brother shared with me, both talented amateur photographers (my dad actually bought his first camera when he was only 11 or 12, with his very first earned money). That magic which they shared with me, a wiggly girl who had so very little patience to wait properly until it was safe to open the door to get out (and probably ruined more than enough photographs because of that), who was eager to look at photos when they were still wet, stuck to a sheet of plexiglass to dry... I treasure those times in my memories, but the reality is that it was way too difficult for me to learn photography without seeing the results immediately, and of course it was much more expensive to purchase films, photo paper and all the necessary equipment. So I only returned to this interest after Anya was born and I bough my very first digital camera in 2003.
But it wasn't until much later that I began to really learn about photography, when I met Justin who is a talented photographer (and who actually attended an art college as an adult to learn the art and skills in depth) and also a talented teacher. Justin saw my interest in this field of self expression and taught me a few basic skills. I did not go very deeply into the technical particularities of photography, and I have no clue about all the endless gear photographers have access to - as this is not what attracts me to photography.
I love being able to capture with a camera a magical moment in life - that short moment when you know with your heart: this is perfect. No words, no movements - just a perfect still moment when everything stops for just an instant, and something very strong and warm and huge shines inside of you, and you are the only one who feels it. Those moments, being captured by this amazing tool, called a photo camera, are what photography means to me.