This is a photo I took almost ten years ago in Afghanistan. I was a bomb disposal technician in the Air Force largely working outside my training and skill-set. My team had been called to a little firebase in the back-hills of Zabul Province to dispose of some unexploded munitions, but the morning before I took this photo, a patrol was ambushed a couple miles from the base and was taking heavy casualties. There weren't really enough guys on the base to respond, so my EOD team went along to help as we could.
Long story short, it was a pretty wild firefight. They gave us all medals and such.
But that's not really a photography thing, what is relevant to photography is this:
I always carried a crappy little point and shoot camera to help with the various reports that are required anytime you do anything over there. As I walked back onto the FOB I turned around to look at the valley where we had made our stand. Despite my understandably shell-shocked demeanor at the time, it looked pretty, so I took this picture.
A few days later, in the safety of a larger base I downloaded my photos to my laptop. When this photo came up I fell in love with photography.
Since then, photography has been a way for me to find beauty in a pretty violent life. It has kept me sane.
So my question for you in this discussion is:
What is the image that led you to photography?
And, what is the story behind it?
And, what does photography mean to you?