I grew up the daughter of a Midwest art dealer. I never considered being an artist. Somehow that seemed like crossing invisible, improper lines.
I got my first camera from my parents for my fifteenth birthday, a Canon AE-1, that I still have today. I started making lots of pictures. Then I'd put them in boxes and slide them under the bed.
After college, I taught English in Poland and watched Lech Walesa's shipworker uprising first-hand (Solidarnosc!). We conjugated irregular verbs while trying to survive 1000% inflation. Several years later, I was a headhunter in Hong Kong. Then I came back to the US and worked in the internet industry until the bubble burst. I kept making pictures.
Then one day, late in 2001, I showed some of them to a photographer. He said, "You can come work with me anytime." That sentence changed my life. Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in what you're doing. Then everything looks different, better.
It took a while, but I went back to school to get my MFA. I don't keep the photographs under my bed anymore.
rachel herman @ gmail dot com