Essay Preview: Kristen Roberson
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On Taking Pictures
Kristen Roberson was born in Hollister California, in 1981 and is currently attending the University of California at Davis. Kristen is currently working on an Animal Science and Management Degree. She has done very little writing, but did write for her high school newspaper the Catalina Times. Her work expresses a tremendous insight into her life. The following explains one aspect of her life.
“The Seven Pools” is the title of a photo album in my room, “that is the place where my cousin proposed to his wife.” Beautiful waterfall, mountaintop, Maui, August afternoon.
Why did I take these pictures, they must have some profound meaning to me. At first I cannot really remember exactly what I was feeling on that day at the Seven Pools in Maui (Was I happy? Was I sad? What made me feel compelled to hike there?), but I do know that I felt something special there. One picture in particular captivates my attention. It is a picture of a 200 foot tall waterfall that cascades into a rocky pool. At the bottom of the waterfall the water hits a boulder and shoots in every direction. Once reaching the pool the water calms and becomes as crystal clear as a Waterford glass.
That is what is going on: my dad and I have headed off on an all day excursion, finding a place full of awe, where none of your questions can be answered as only the trees know their story, only they know how they got to be hundreds of feet tall and why they are still standing over me and will continue to for years to come. As we climb the trail I am completely surrounded by 200 ft tall trees and thousands of bright green ferns. My dad continues climbing on in front of me the sun is so strong that it appears he is climbing straight up into the sky. As we walk up the trail we come to a gigantic banyan tree, I quickly snap some pictures wondering what the first settlers must have thought of it with its lush green leaves and draping roots. I really wish I would have been one of the first settlers to come to this enchanting island full of exotic flowers, powerful waterfalls and complicated bamboo forests. As we hike the deafening sound of the waterfall ahead grows. When I arrive at the top of the waterfall I understand why my cousin chose to propose there, the place is so magical with that it was almost impossible to believe that this was not heaven on earth. Feeling is what that is all about.
Why did I take a picture of that? Of course it is partially to remember where I have gone, but what do I want to remember about the places I have seen? What was I really feeling? Why do I keep a photo album? It is easy for me to comply with the desire to take pictures of everything I see when I go on vacation. Many people might think it is absolutely crazy to take over twenty rolls of film on a vacation, I admit that they might be a little right as it is very costly, and to most people a waste of time not to mention the fact that it is extremely annoying to the people traveling with me. I started taking photos when I was ten years old, it seems as though my dad has passed down his desire of picture taking to me, he loves capturing the most unique moments on film. People who obsess over photos are of a different breed; they constantly look around them appreciating every minute that they are given and hope that somehow taking a picture will forever cement this moment into their minds and the minds of others.
My first camera was orange and blue, it was a Christmas present from my dad because he knew that it would help me not only see nature and life, but feel it. Unfortunately, my first camera was very cheap and died shortly after I got it. The pictures from this camera are quite puzzling to me, however, as they clearly display how short a childs attention span is. One picture from the role is of my old dog Sam playing ball with me, while the next is of a bird on top of my barn. I cannot really pinpoint why I thought that it was important to take a picture of my dog playing ball and the bird, but it is definitely a precursor to the obsessive and completely compulsive picture taking disease that I suffer from. If I was any normal child I would have probably of taken pictures of Christmas or something along those lines, but for some reason I have always had a passion for the obscure things in life.
The point of me taking pictures has never been to just remember, and it will never be. Everyone takes pictures, but few view them as I do. I have never been able to take pictures that have no meaning beyond face value; I analyze everything around me so much that it almost drives me mad at times. I cannot understand how people can walk around only noticing what is right in front of them. Why would I take pictures with no meaning? Why bother even taking them? What purpose do they serve?
I never plan on wasting film like that; instead I take pictures that capture every aspect of life. No picture can tell a lie and I feel that it is the most accurate way to describe a moment. They are so vivid that they can touch on emotions that words cannot even hope to. Most people cannot even begin to understand how amazing it was to be at the Grand Canyon at dusk watching the sun come down and seeing it rays reflecting off of the desert floor making the sky look like a mosaic of colors, but after looking at about fifty of my pictures they can almost feel what I was feeling. Of course what really matters is what the pictures mean to me. Being able to look back on the time when I gave my mom and dad a vacation for mother and fathers day, seeing the smiles on their faces all over again. My pictures take me back to a time and place of happiness and wonder that can never be taken from me. Of course other people might not see what I see when I look at them, but what really matters is what they mean to me.
Remembering feelings; is definitely why I take pictures. I used to never understand why I took so many of them; I used to make myself believe that taking so many was normal. Of course, there is always the idea that ten years from now when I cannot remember what happened and I have decided to give up what I use to love, which is taking pictures- I can simply open my album and look back on all of the fun times that were full of emotion: pictures about trips to national parks and horse events; lasting impressions of beautiful flowers and trees; about summer camps with my friends and the friendships that we developed; about my family and all of the special occasions that we have shared together and how much I learned from them all throughout my life.
This means that the pictures are about the events of my life. Of course this is not