Photo lab became home

Brett Marshall

Twenty-one and lost, I headed south across an imaginary line where churches and conservative opinions saturate the land I now call home. I had never experienced a culture shock as great as the transition from the streets of Cincinnati to the farms of Bowling Green. I was once again lost.

My salvation came in the smelly dark cinderblock walls of the photo lab. Those walls became my home and the unknown faces that surrounded me became my family. I didn’t come here for photo, but more to stay out of jail. This place kept me out of trouble and gave me direction in humanity. My camera gave me a purpose to meet new people and build new relationships. I found a driving force in learning. Not in the classroom, my questionable graduation illustrates that, but in life. This area has taught me how to be a genuine kindhearted person, but I fear that this tradition may cease.

I fear that the photo program I love so much has begun to lose its edge in teaching us how to be good people. Words like convergence and influences of money are tearing at the foundation of what builds character. Enough said about that, the truth is that life is knocking at the door and I’m looking through the peep-hole. In a week I will have to open the door and step out, much like I did three years ago. I only hope I step in the right direction, and I’m very grateful for all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way who have given me the courage to take that step.

Brett Marshall is a graduating photojournalism major from Cincinnati. Reach him at [email protected]