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Thu. Oct 25, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Chasing the Magic

If you were to ask Justin how he first fell in love with photography, he would tell you that it all started with a magic kit.

You know the kind. Pulling rabbits out of hats, making coins disappear and such. The whole bit. Perhaps there was even a cape involved. Perhaps. I like to imagine that there was. But I can't tell you for sure. Because I wasn't there.

You see, he got this magic kit when he was a kid. Like the little tykes version of Houdini.

And from the way he tells it....he was pretty much terrible.

Apparently the rabbits preferred to wear the hats, and those darn coins just wouldn't disappear. And no matter how hard he tried, a young Copperfield he was not.

Fast forward about ten years or so, when a fifteen year old Justin took his very first photography class in high school. I'm pretty sure it was called Darkroom 101 or something like that.

Because as he likes to tell it, the first time he stood in the darkness breathing in the smell of fixer and hearing the drip-drip-drip of the sink, he took this plain sheet of paper and he made an image appear out of nowhere on it.

And in that second and for the first time in his life....he felt like maybe, just maybe, he might be good at this magic thing after all.

And that right there my friends, was the moment he fell in love with photography.

For the past few weeks, we've been making a conscious effort to get back to that. That feeling of falling in love. And....that magic.

Because as you guys who have been shooting for a little while now know, at some point it's really easy to start treating your camera like a briefcase: you only pick it up to go to work.

And that magic starts to fade. Photography becomes something that pays the bills. Something that gets you blog comments. And Facebook likes. Something that you do versus something that you are.

But I believe, to truly become the photographers that we were born to is something that has to get way down into our souls and become a very part of who we are. It has to become a lifelong love affair. One where we never stop learning. We never say it's good enough. We never stop being amazed. And we never ever stop falling in love with that magic over and over and over again.

Last week when we were in San Francisco, we took one huge step forward in chasing that magic when we stopped in at the Photobooth SF to have our tin type's made. This was true wet plate photography shot on a large format camera in a studio, and we even had to have our necks braced. Abraham Lincoln (Vampire Slayer) style :) It was amazing. After the pictures were taken, we got to go back into the darkroom and watch the magic of our images come to life.

And I'm going to be kinda made me feel like a top hat and cape were definitely in order.

Today, I want you to ask yourself this question: what was it really that made you fall in love with photography in the first place? Not why you thought it would be a good business or how you first got started. But when was it that you first felt that magic?

Now go do something like that today.

Rock it out,

**Be sure to check out these other amazing photographers doing wet plate work as well: Jody Dole & Ian Ruhter


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