Where It All Began

Written by Jacob Van Blarcom



I get asked a lot, “how did you first get into photography?” For the longest time, I would answer that question by shrugging my shoulders. I’d say something along the lines of, “photography found me,” to brush off the question. I didn’t have a quirky anecdote or some heartfelt story that traced back my obsession to its roots- or so I thought.


Once I took a step back and truly asked myself, “where did this all begin?”, I found myself staring at this flattering photo from my early teenage years, before I even owned a camera.




Growing up, I had always been interested in documenting life with my parents’ point-and-shoot cameras. I was even given one for my 11th birthday. I had a desire to preserve life’s fleeting moments so that they would be remembered.


But on June 24th, 2014 at precisely 5:44pm, I took the first photo on my new iPhone 5c. For the first time in my life, I held in my hands a smart phone I could carry with me anywhere I went that could capture the world.


Yes, my first photo with my new phone was a mirror selfie. My 16 year-old self felt the urge to start the camera roll on my shiny new toy by sharing my bewilderment. Now I can see the “what am I getting myself into” look on my face. This mirror selfie represents the very moment in which any camera empowered me to look at the world critically and hold a strong desire to document it.


From there I took my phone out on many adventures with my friends, finding new ways to relay the vibrancy of life through capturing color and form. I learned how to compose a beautiful shot and how to tell visual stories.


I got into photography thanks to the accessibility of the iPhone 5c. Although now at times I can’t imagine leaving my apartment without my DSLR in my backpack, I will always be grateful to have developed my interest in photography with the iPhone camera as it gave me the confidence to experiment and capture.