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  • Megan Johnson

How My Photography Journey Began

Don't you feel your life kinda happens in chapters? The childhood chapter. The college chapter. Before kids. After kids. Well... after my college years I squeezed in a four year long chapter called "Living in China". Shortly after relocating my husband and I began to plan our first trip. The thing was... we had no way to document it. Neither of us had a smart phone (I actually had a flip phone and this was 2010) and decided to get a nice camera... it was something I always had interest in, yet never had pursued. Until now.


We were a two hour train ride from Hong Kong and so down to the island we went. I do not recall the name of the electronic store, but do remember the teal and white sign. We walk in, people bustling everywhere, and finally walk out with a Canon Rebel and a lens that came with it for an extra hundred USD. As someone that relocated with a spouse, I had yet to find full time work- which gave me time to read the entire user manual and go out in our city to practice shooting. Buildings were being constructed all around. A gorgeous library, a stadium for the Asian games and a city of 20 million people. Millions of opportunities everywhere. I became ready for our first trip in no time!


We were so fortunate to not only get the local Chinese Holidays, but also the American Holidays we were so used to celebrating. We traveled every 3-4 months and visited so many countries. Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, New Zealand... it was amazing! BUT... the trip that opened my eyes to what I was meant to do was our trip to Cambodia.


Cambodia was incredible. The history. The bright green fields. The temples... I took over 3000 images in two days. Click happy- definitely. I was in a world decorated with textures, greenery in stone, vines growing in the most beautiful temples... a photographers dream. We had a tour guide who went by Tiger (he did look very much like Tiger Woods) and he and my husband were way ahead of me as I clicked away. This is when a young boy approached me, asking to be my tour guide. He couldn't have been more than 10 and he won me over the instant he said hello. He wanted a dollar to show me the temples. I coincidently had an American dollar on me (we were living in China and I usually only had RMB). I traded $1 for his picture. Capturing his essence, his eyes, his two fingers on his forehead... that was the MOMENT I knew I had to photograph people. To this day, his picture sits in a frame on my bookshelf. I only wish I could have kept in contact. I think of him often and wonder what he must be up to.


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