Where Does Mudbug Photography Come From
Mudbug Photography was originally A Texan Life. With my move to the bayous of SouthEast Louisiana using A Texan Life as my business name seemed to be confusing to most potential customers. This was both understandable and inhibited sales. So apparently a name change was in order, to a name more reflecting my new home. Anyone that has lived, or heck even visited SE Louisiana knows just how much a good mudbug boil is loved. I figured as much as a good mudbug boil is loved, everyone here will love a Mudbug Photography.
The pictures in this post if they don’t have the Mudbug watermark are old film pictures I have scanned into my computer. Because they are old, and hadn’t been properly stored, you’ll see a lot of artifacts, noise, and blurriness. Please do not think that these are indicative of modern high resolution images, or the photos I take with modern glass and DSLR/Mirrorless cameras. Something else to note, this is about my history and how I came to be a photographer, and my metamorphosis to the photographer I am today. I hope you enjoy learning about me, and my journey to becoming Mudbug Photography.
Hey Dad What’s That Camera
When I was a young boy, my father got a Pentax K1000 and began teaching himself photography with the help of a friend, Charlie, who taught photography at a local high school. I idolized my father at that time, and wanted to do whatever he was doing, whether shooting guns, fishing, riding motorcycles, or learning about photography. Every time I could get my hands on Dad’s camera, I put my little crumb snatcher hands on it. I think he and mom hoped that photography would be something that would keep me out of trouble (good luck with that) and they got me a Ricoh body that could also use Dad’s glass. Glass is what photographers call their lenses.
My First Photography Job
After mom and dad got me that Ricoh, with a little instruction from dad and Charlie, but mostly teaching myself (there was no youtube back in those days) I became pretty proficient. Mom and dad divorced in the interim, I realized dad was human, and quit idolizing him, and followed mom to New Hampshire, and then St. Louis. I took pictures whenever I had the money to buy film, and get the film developed. I had a pretty decent portfolio for an 18 year old self taught photographer, and loved showing my pictures to people. In St. Louis I showed my camera and pictures to a friend, who grew up taking pictures with his dad who owned his own studio in Arnold, MO. He showed my pictures to his dad who liked them enough to hire me as a part time youth sports photographer. He provided me a Nikon with the equipment I needed and film, and off I went, now as a professional photographer. Soon after though, real life reared it’s ugly head.
It’s Time To Put Down The Camera And Pick Up A Rifle
It’s the summer of 1990, and I’m 20 years old when Saddam decides to invade Kuwait. I grew up with a great grandfather that was in during World War 1, a grandfather that fought in the Pacific during World War 2, and 2 uncles that served during Vietnam. As you might imagine, I have a very strong sense of patriotism and a deep seated need to serve our wonderful nation. I had always been interested in being a cop or a Military Policeman. On 4 Sep. 1990 my recruiter told me that 4 MP spots had opened up, but I had to be at Ft. McClellan on 6 Sep. 1990. So I packed a little bag, kissed mom good bye, and headed to the Army. I left my camera behind, and it looked like photography was over for me.
Adrift, Lost, And Angry
While I was in the Army, there were 2 incidents that occurred that affect me even today. I was honorably discharged after a training accident that dislocated both shoulders simultaneously. Even though I didn’t know what was wrong with me at the time, I had PTSD from another incident. All I knew was that I started having nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, and an unreasonable anger that could border on violence if I didn’t watch myself. To top it off, I had been discharged from my beloved Army long before I wanted to be discharged. This left me in a bad mental state where I felt adrift, lost, and angry at the world. So I returned home to Texas to try and put my life back together. Like so many other veterans at the time, I ended up having issues with drugs and alcohol that I hid from family and friends. The VA told me there was nothing wrong with me, so no help for you for serving your country.
A Chance Conversation
Fast forward almost 20 years, and I was talking to another Veteran about what had happened to me. My injuries, how my mental state had changed, my addictions, even the couple of attempts to become one of the 22. He told me I needed to get to the VA Psych immediately, That it sounded like I had something called PTSD, and they could help me. I was extremely skeptical as I had seen first hand how little the VA cares about Veterans. Thankfully the nurses and doctors for the most part do care, and I started getting the help I need. Among other things, they helped me get a service dog, Heather, who has literally been a life saver.
It’s Time To Pick The Camera Back Up
In one of my session with a VA psych doc, he asked me if there was anything that made me happy, made me more like my old myself. I told him photography was something I really enjoyed prior to my joining the Army, that I had always lost myself in it. He suggested that since over the years I had lost my Ricoh, that I get a new camera and start shooting again. Well let me tell you, VA disability is crap, and when you can’t work because the PTSD is so bad you barely leave home it’s tough having the money for a purchase like that. Mom came to the rescue again. She got me a new Nikon D780 and A Texan Life was born.
A Texan Life Becomes Mudbug Photography
Since picking up the camera again and with the help of Heather, I’ve slowly been getting a little better. The thoughts of becoming one of the 22 have become less frequent, although by no means has it ended entirely. I can get out a little more, although the anxiety attacks are still a very real hazard, and do happen fairly frequently. Nightmares are still almost nightly. Life is better, but far from perfect. During this time I met a real Coon Ass (that’s what they call themselves down here on the bayou) Angie. Angie has become the love of my life, my best friend, and my editor. She wasn’t leaving her precious bayou though, and having lived in other places while keeping Texas in my heart, I knew I could do it again.
Well, my D780 died, so I just got a new Nikon Z9, and I’m familiarizing myself with the mass amount of new features I need to learn. I’m also continuing to take pictures of the bayou, and of Texas when I go home to visit. I love showing the beauty of both areas, and of course how wonderful the people are. After Hurricane Ida these folks banded together, and helped each other make it through those days with no power, no water, and destruction all around. They are truly wonderful folks, and I want to show the world that. If you need wedding, senior, or any other type of photos taken, or want prints of photos I have taken, please feel free to get in contact with me. I’m on FB, twitter, and Instagram at mudbugphoto, or you can e-mail email@example.com or you can text or call 985-398-0946.