Well let's see, where do I start? Let's go way back to the beginning. I've always been in love with photography, even as a little kid. From the time I knew how to operate electronic equipment, a camera has almost always been in my hand. At a young age, my mom could look out of our house window to see me perched in front of a birdhouse, trying to catch a quick shot of a swallow poking it's head out. I was a curious, and very intrigued with many things in the world, and enjoyed documenting these objects for further inspection.
I was lucky enough to have a mom and dad who insisted on traveling a lot when I was a kid. They wanted to expose me to other landscapes and different cultures, and we took many trips out west. My parents probably still look back at that time and laugh as they picture me bolting around trying to snap photos of the small lizards that were as quick as lightning. Suffice to say, I never really got a good shot. But everywhere we went, I had my camera with me. So intrigued with the inner workings of the camera, I ruined a couple rolls of film by opening the back of the camera while shooting, to see how things worked. In my years between 8 and 10, mostly every part of my life was captured. Not only did my parents take photos of my doings, but also I recorded the world through my point of view. I still have unorganized photos of those years lying around my room.
When I was about 13 years old, I first became exposed (haha, no pun intended) to black and white photography. My neighbor had a darkroom, and my mom was interested in helping me continue to develop my hobby. She arranged a time for me to go down and meet with him so that I could do some developing and printing. So I got my roll of black and white, shot it, and processed it in the darkroom. Needless to say, I mostly watched while my neighbor processed and printed. But I got the concept. On one occasion, he even invited me to the darkroom to do some color printing. After spending many hours on one print, I decided I'd leave the color printing to Wal-Mart.
Unfortunately, over the few years after I learned the ins and outs of the darkroom, my passion for photography started to decline. I started high school, and found that I had a lot less time on my hands. I played a varsity sport almost every season, and with the advanced classes, there wasn't much time for any shooting to take place. But during my early high school years I found another passion. The name of the game was lacrosse. My sister had played in high school and had gotten the distinction of two-year captain, leading scorer, and all-star her senior year. Since I idolized her, I wanted to follow in her footsteps. That I did. By the end of my senior year, I had been captain of the varsity team for two years, held the single season scoring record, been selected for All-State first team, and had won the offensive MVP two times. But besides lacrosse, another remarkable thing occurred during my final year in high school.
There is a requirement that all students have to complete a "senior project" before they graduate. Students are allowed to pick their subject of the project and to determine all the steps of the project. All that is required is that you follow the guidelines and rubric that you draw out for yourself, and that you spend at least 30 hours on it. At first, I wanted to coach a youth lacrosse team, but when that fell through I considered an alternate route: Sports Photography. As stated, I loved sports, and I loved photography. Can you think of a better combination? So I started off with my eBay-bought Canon Rebel Ti, 28-80mm, and 70-300mm Sigma lens. The first time that I visited the Photography Review forums was during my first couple months of shooting. I took some cross country/soccer shots, and was eager to get some feedback. So I scoured the net, found PR, and posted my photos, only to be met with some warm and friendly advice. People were eager to help and even though I didn't like receiving criticism, I realized later that it was exactly what I needed. So beginners, take that piece of advice to heart. People aren't criticizing to be mean, they are doing what they need to in order to help you grow.
During the winter of my project, I upgraded to a Digital Rebel, because I needed the simplicity of digital. In the spring, I completed my project with almost double the required amount of time, and having spent about $1800. But the commendations I got on the project made up for it. I received an award of recognition for the time and effort I put into my project, and sold some of the prints that I had taken as part of the project. I even had the opportunity to go and shoot the NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Philadelphia at the end of my senior year. It was the beginning of a true passion.
During my first year of college at UNH, I became even more involved in photography. I got a job with the campus newspaper shooting sports, and they put me on other assignments as well from time to time. I enjoyed the challenge. During the second half of freshman year, I started my own company, Doscher Sports Shots, which started out slow. But after a couple weeks, I started selling. At the end of freshman year, I attended the NCAA lacrosse championships in Philly again, and came away with some much better photos than the year before. Now I am a sophomore at UNH, and I continue to be involved in these same activities. This year I have even started to branch out more, and try to get back into black and white photography. I have also developed a love for portrait photography.
I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot for my age. I am only 19 years old and already I have been published in multiple newspapers, I have attended an NCAA event twice with a press pass, I own a small business, I am the primary sports shooter at my campus paper, I am building a portfolio to apply to sportsshooter.com, and I am currently trying to work something out with Inside Lacrosse and Varsity New England. I attribute all my success to the people along the way who helped me grow and develop my passion. My parents were always more than supportive, and I love them immensely for that.
My dream for the future? Like any sports shooter, I want to shoot for Sports Illustrated. The baby steps are what will get me there.
Contributor's Page >>