At the focus was automatic and the need

At a young age, I was the kid that never played with toys but instead read and hung out with adults. Needless to say, I was shy. Always hidden behind everyone else, overlooked. Coming from a loud family with three stepsisters also didn’t help me. They were all connected by blood and coming from a big family, which was a big contrast to me, considering I was an only child and the only extended family I had, lived across the world in Korea.  Having a new family around just encouraged me to stay in my room, I became even more hidden from the rest of the world. But being the quiet kid also had its advantages. I never got in trouble and I had a lot of time to myself to think about what I wanted in life. When I was around eleven, I figured out that I wanted to make a difference with my voice; I didn’t want to just be overlooked anymore, I wanted to be heard, but first I had to find a voice.  A big milestone to my goal was in 2008. We were in Georgia for my stepmom’s family reunion, this was the first time I would meet her entire family, so naturally, I spent the majority of the weekend next to my dad or reading a book. While everyone else was playing volleyball, I was reading my book, then out of nowhere, my uncle had asked me to take a picture of the family with his digital camera. I don’t remember many events from my childhood, it’s all kind of a blur now, but this moment I will never forget. This was the first time I had ever held a camera, and I remember specifically being amazed at how the focus was automatic and the need that I felt to get a good angle. Looking back now, I think I also wanted to impress the family, all eyes were on me for a change. After taking the picture, I received many compliments on the photo. Maybe it was the praise I received or maybe it was the thrill of trying something new, but I fell in love with photography in that moment. I loved that, although life moves so fast, I had the ability to capture a life-changing moment by a click of a button. I had finally found a way to be heard and express myself. Ever since that moment, I have made sure to take every possible art class I could so I could develop a portfolio of my own.  When it came time to really decide what field I wanted to go into, I knew photography had to be a part of my future and eventually I chose it as my major. It has become my outlet for creativity and my way of showing people what I think of the world around me. Having to talk about my work to audiences in high school and college has helped me immensely in trying not to be the shy girl that read in the corner that had people talk for her, now I can talk for myself.  Looking back, I feel that I have come along way from who I used to be. Whenever I pick up my camera, I still feel the same way I did the first time I pushed that button, but now I have an ultimate goal with that I want to do with that camera. I’m still exploring with my angles, but I have realized that photography allows me to say what I need to say to my audience without me even being there. My goal is to stop people in their tracks and evoke an emotion. I want to allow my audience to make their own interpretations of my work, for a photograph to speak to them, and maybe even make them think of a time in their lives and make a direct connection with my work.  Photography allows me to use my voice for positive change in both my local community and eventually the world. I want my audience to still think about my work long after they have seen it, to have an impact on them, because I have found my voice. Now I do have something to say, and it all started with a single photo taken at a family reunion, ten years ago.