As a kid I loved to take pictures. Not sure when I started, but my mom was recently looking at a picture and trying to figure out who could have taken it. She wondered if it might have been me. I would have been 15 months old when the picture was taken. I had a little Brownie camera, and then later a Kodak with the cube flash squares that made everyone blind after the harsh blue/white explosion. Of course, the Polaroid that gave me instant feedback on my photographic talent. In high school I worked on both the school yearbook and newspaper. This gave me the first opportunity to take photos for a real purpose and it was cool to see my photos in print and tell people “I took that!”
My senior year of high school I received a Canon AT-1 as a gift from my parents. It was a serious camera for a kid of my age. I was in heaven. I shot as much as I could afford to. Buying film and processing cost money, but I was fortunate to get to shoot for the school on their dime and continue learning and improving.
I continued to shoot after high school and after getting married. Although the development of the point-and-shoot camera made carrying all of my equipment on trips seem ridiculous. Soon it was stored away and time passed. About 2013 I was a fan of the show “Texas Music Scene” that featured Texas artists and showed them on stage performing their music. The show would flash photos of the band from the set as they continued to play. I would actually stop the show and discuss with my wife, Mitzi, how and why these pictures were so great. Funny thing for a television show, the still images had a watermark of photographer Todd Purifoy. I decided really quickly I wanted to be Todd Purifoy. Mitzi and I had recently become more active at attending music shows and concerts in the area and many were at small venues where I could actually bring my camera and pretend to be someone important.
About this same time, I met Justin Frazell. I listened to him every morning on 95.9 The Ranch out of Ft Worth. He also hosted the “Texas Red Dirt Roads” radio shows every Sunday at a venue somewhere around the Ft Worth area. I brought my camera and shot pictures at these informal “song swaps” and pretended I was Todd Purifoy on the “Texas Music Scene” TV show. Following Justin and the TXRDR show around each Sunday gave me the opportunity to shoot lots of pictures in different environments. Justin opened up doors by introducing me to people who I would have stood star struck in front of previously. He gave me opportunity to shoot in places I could have never gotten to on my own and shoot artists I may have never been able to shoot. Plus he shared my photos and gave me an audience much larger than I could have ever reached alone and a sense of credibility. He even officiated the renewal of mine and Mitzi's vows on our 35th anniversary.
One Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago, sitting on a patio at a BBQ place in North Richland Hills he looked me in the eyes with a look so serious it took me aback, and told me “you need to quit fooling around…you have a real talent and you need to get serious about it.” His words had impact. I went back and sat with my wife and told her what he had said. It was that moment that changed my direction. That was the moment I decided I was more than just a guy with a camera. I doubt he even remembers but for all he has done, those words were his greatest gift. There is no way I would be doing what I do if it wasn't for Justin. He gave me the belief in myself, and a dream to chase.
And thus the journey began.