I received my first SLR as a gift when I was 12 years old, and took it to a show to photograph local bands and my friends. Along with my cocker spaniels and the raw beauty of Northern California where I grew up, live music and the people closest to me were the constant subjects of my lens.
I quickly decided my attraction to taking pictures was not about art. I didn't care if anyone else liked my photos, or if I ever sold one, or if I was any good at it. It was about capturing small moments and making them still so that I could digest them. A still shot could often tell a different story about a person or a plant or an animal that might not get told when experienced at regular speed. It could help me examine how I felt in a situation or event and express it better than words. It was a way of explaining my internal reactions to myself in a way that provided relief from what could often feel like a big burden to bear - the tangible joy, sorrow, grief, beauty, frustration, elation, anger, and passion elicited by what I saw in others and the natural world.
Over the years this, of course, turned out to be my definition of art.