In this photo, I’m holding one of the very first prints I ever developed in a darkroom. I’d been shooting film for years at that point, but had always processed my negatives and had them printed through a local lab. Not until graduate school, when my teammate Emma took me to the science facility darkrooms and taught me how to expose and manipulate my images, did I understand the absolute limitless possibilities of how one can make art with a camera. Burning, dodging, manipulating the exposure, even using my hands to create softness and blur as the image was developing: I was amazed by the control I could have over my photograph.

My work has evolved quite a bit since my days of shooting black and white film, and today I use the digital darkroom instead, but I’m forever thankful to a dear friend who taught me that shooting an image was actually the beginning of the art rather than just the final destination.