Why do you take photographs?

Above: Image by Gina Milicia

“When Your Why Is clear, Your How becomes easy”

When I was 9, my brother Anthony got his first football trophy.

Best Utility Under 11’s. I believed this trophy had magical powers.

That trophy transformed my brother into a rockstar. My parents treated Anthony like he had just scored the winning goal in the World Cup.

I was proud, but I was also jealous. I wanted a trophy. I wanted to feel like a rockstar.

I signed up for netball and but after two Saturdays of getting up at 8 am, and not getting a game, I quit. I hated being cold. Netball was stupid.

I signed up for Little Athletics (more medals and ribbons to win). Went once, didn’t win and gave up. Little Aths sucked.

I retired from professional sport at the age of 9 to focus on my Leggo career.

My brother played football, cricket, basketball, and every sport under the sun because he loved playing sport. He went on to win a stack of trophies, but winning trophies was not his WHY.

Anthony loved sport, and that’s why he played. He loved to be part of a team, loved how he felt when he ran or swam or kicked a goal.

He trained every day, and the more he trained, the better he became. His Why was the love of the game.

My Why was to win trophies so when success – an award, rockstar status, adulation –  didn’t come, I quit.

Several years later as a young teen I discovered ceramics and joined an adult pottery class. This was the best thing I’d ever seen (aside from Nutella and Leggo of course).

I was obsessed. Read every book on the subject, dreamt about it and spent every spare minute working with clay.

My father even bought me a pottery wheel, and I spent every waking hour making bowls, teapots and vases.

I felt happy and free. I’d found my “thing”.  I’d found my happy place. I worked at my wheel in the freezing cold winters and boiling hot summers. Never missed a day and then a funny thing happened. People started offering me money for my art and ordering coffee cups and vases. I was an entrepreneur before I could spell or pronounce it.

I discovered photography in the same way. I LOVED taking pictures.

I LOVED working in the darkroom. I LOVED photographing people. I loved how I felt when I stood behind the camera. I LOVED how I felt when I could use my photography to help people and now LOVE how it feels when I teach others how to take the kind of photos they’ve always dreamed of.

Today, 30 years later I am more in love with the art of photography than when I first started. I’m stoked I’ve been able to make a living out of being an artist. I know there is no way I’d be doing it if I was only going for “the Best Utility” trophy.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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