The Camera Created Me

By Shawn, age 15, Kansas

"The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

What is it about a photo that captivates us? Is it the expression on a face? The light bleeding from a window whose blinds are half opened? Is it the idea that we have somehow managed to freeze, to capture time?

Every photo contains a world an artist creates, where light, time, and love meet. For me, there is nothing more incredible. Only in these worlds can you create words that don't exist to describe exactly how you feel, and not have to say them out loud. You can do anything. You can float in space or fall up a flight of stairs.

I started taking photos in late May, 2008, when I had just turned fourteen. I had never really been able to stick to anything for more than about two months. I bought my first SLR camera - a Nikon D40 - and started shooting away. I started off pretty simple. I took pictures of flowers and raindrops. You know, those "pretty" pictures that you see a lot with people my age. I always thought I "saw" like a photographer. I thought I knew the world so well. I was sure I had the eyes of an artist. But truth be told, I didn't. It wasn't until I broke my Nikon and took a good look at my past few months in photos that I realized that I was not a photographer.

I bought myself a new camera a couple weeks later, unable to function without one. Since then, I've grown incredibly passionate about photography, to the point where I almost don't care about anything else in my life. I talk a lot less now. Annie Leibovitz once stated how difficult it is to talk and watch what's happening at the same time. Also, my whole perspective has changed. I don't just look at things. I see them. I see in photographs, and I live in them as well. I think about the story of everything - a yellow flier flapping in the wind, a girl waiting on a bench in the park. I want to capture these stories, and the beauty that rests in each one. It's almost impossible for me to put my camera down and live life for myself, instead capturing others live, out of fear I will miss a moment and lose it forever.

For now, I'm doing pretty well. I'm learning to be an explorer of the world and take chances. I take portraits for friends and their families, I sell prints for money, and I am also making deals with local galleries and clothing stores. Recently, I got accepted into a program called Littlest Heroes, where I will get to have sessions with children suffering from cancer for free. The summer will bring tons of new opportunities for me. As for the distant future, I have no idea what will happen. It is my dream to pursue photography. With hard work and hope I can only wish to succeed.

I encourage you to find your passion. Find that thing that mesmerizes you, that enchants you with its being. Find that thing that drives you nuts, makes you pull your hair and scream, yet you can't live without. Find that thing that will change you forever. And when you have, come talk to me. We'll compare answers.

You can find more of my work at
Purchase my work at

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

Sweet Designs Magazine
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