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A letter from a Fro Reader

I get a lot of e mails, most of them asking what gear should I buy. But from time to time I get very heart felt emails from people who say I have changed or even saved their life. It is so hard for me to see the affect I have on others from this side of the computer. I am just a guy who decided to share my photography and views on it with the world.

It truly means a lot to read e mails like the one below. It kind of puts many things in perspective.

The author of this e mail asked me to remove their name but said it is okay to share this with you guys.

If you can take a few minutes to read it I highly recommend it.

Hi Jared,

You may not get the time to ever read this but I thought I’d share my story with you…

I’ve always been a big fan of photography and the feelings and emotions that can be generated from this amazing art form. So at the age of 15 I jumped at the chance to do photography at high school (back in the film days), I didn’t fully understand what the camera was capable of and partly due to a mediocre teacher I sort of fell out of love with the idea of becoming a photographer myself.

I continued to admire photographers and the amazing images these people could create, but always thought it was something I would never be able to achieve. Over the years I had point and shoots and was reasonably happy with just taking my ‘happy snaps’, my family and friends would say my shots were good but as I soon learnt that’s what friends and family say regardless of the shot.

Fast forward many many years and I found myself in the position where I could afford a DSLR and thought maybe this time round I could have a better go at it. I was older and somewhat wiser and had a better understanding of the basics, so in 2009 I trundled off to my local Harvey Norman store and purchased a D60 with the 2 kit lenses (I was going to go for the D90 but I thought if it turned sour again I wouldn’t be up for a big financial loss).

For a while I had a blast, my shots were shit (I’m my own worst critique) but it didn’t worry me as I was having fun and I wasn’t in it for any other reason. Unfortunately dark days were just around the corner. I lost my job 6 months after the purchase, at first it was all good I had received a payout which kept me going whilst looking for work and I continued to shoot my crappy photos.

Work was very hard to come by and was taking a toll not only on me but on my relationship and just about every aspect of my life. It wasn’t long until my girlfriend left me, I was kicked out of my band and my apartment and everything was getting too much for me.

My family and friends were worried about me and asked that I see a councilor to talk about this as I wasn’t very good at communicating my feelings. The councilor didn’t really help and things got worse. Life continued, I’d pick up bits and pieces of work and lived where ever I could. Eventually even I noticed that my easy going personality had gone and been replaced with a very dark and gloomy view of just about everything. I then found myself in a new relationship (I don’t know how) but little did I know that she was as crazy as a hat full of cats and would be the catalyst for me contemplating taking my own life.

By this time photography was the last thing on my mind and my trusty D60 had been living a lonely life in the back of my wardrobe. To cut this story short, I moved back to Victoria to be closer to my family, ridded myself of one crazy bitch and took up working and living on my sister’s farm.

The farm is a beautiful and relaxing place and it was at this point I thought ‘I need to get my camera out’ and try to capture some of this rural beauty. I still had the basics of the exposure triangle, DOF and a bit of composition (all self-taught) but I yearned for more information.

Thankfully the internet and all its wonders were on hand, so I began to search and was amazed at how many people were willing to give away their intellectual property. It didn’t take long to be disheartened by the repetitious and lack luster instructions I was finding and I found my interest in creating my own images diminishing rapidly, then I found (play dramatic fanfare here). I systematically watched all of your videos and read every article and review you had posted and like a sign from God shining through the church window (you know the scene in Blues Brothers I’m talking about) I found my inspiration.

I have learned so much from you on capturing images and the photography industry (RAWtalk) that I shall forever be in debt to you (the fact you’re a bit of a movie buff sits very well with my as well). Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling it like it is and sharing your knowledge with me & the FroNation.

As an update, I now have an amazing job with an amazing boss working as a graphic designer for an engraving company, I’m engaged to my one true love from high school, I am no longer medicated for depression and most importantly I am taking photos again (still with my old D60 and kit lenses but sometimes my fiancé lets me use her D3100).

I still don’t like my photography and feel it is average at best (hopefully one day that will change), but I love pressing that shutter button and for me that is the most important thing. My fiancé asked me the other day what I want for Christmas, to which I replied ‘I Shoot RAW’ Black Rapid Strap or the Star Wars and Back to the Future ‘I shoot RAW’ T-Shirts (it was a bit of a no brainer really), but I’m leaning more towards the strap as I’m a big bloke and not sure how I’ll go fitting into your t-shirts J.

Hopefully within 18 to 24 months I will have dug myself out of the financial hole I have created and will be able to invest in some new glass and maybe even a new camera body. I realize you probably receive thanks from your fans on a regular basis but I can tell you that from this resident of the FroNation I am truly and deeply thankful for all that you provide, it helps keep me focused on the good things.

Oh yeah… Say Hi to Stephen for me and thanks for replying to my very first tweet #IPoundedThis GirlLastNightInTheFace lol.

I Shoot RAW,