Join Richard Koci Hernandez for an in-depth discussion in this video Early inspirations, part of Creative Inspirations: Richard Koci Hernandez, Multimedia Journalist.
(Music playing.) Richard: Being in a house full of women, there were men there, but they weren't influential in any way.
It was the woman--my grandmother, my mother--who really, really raised me. The one father figure that was around was an uncle, Uncle David, and he brought us here to Yosemite when I was 12 years old, and I haven't been back since. (Music playing.) This is the birthplace of my visual career.
I mean this is--everything that I am right now as a photographer and as a visual storyteller started right here. I mean this is it, and it was powerful when I was 12. It's even more powerful now at 40. I have my routes in my left hand and the future in my right hand.
I mean there is still magic in this. I can't see anything. I have to wait. I have to develop the film. I love technology. This is fantastic! (Music playing.) Uncle David brought me out here, and we just kind of started stumbling around and coming to the village to kind of have ice cream and just keep ourselves occupied, and eventually we land here at the Ansel Adams gallery.
We are just kind of stumbled upon it. Half Dome is Yosemite, and Half Dome is the icon of this place, and while we were here, that's what we were looking at all the time. And then to walk in here and to see this picture of it was so powerful, and to know that I could walk right outside and do, potentially--what did I know? I was 12-- potentially do the same thing was extremely powerful.
I mean, I left this building, and I just grabbed the camera off my uncle's shoulder, and it was game on. It was--I wanted to do this. This is it. This is the camera. This is the G Yashica, the Electro 35. This is the camera that I pulled off my uncle's shoulder. I mean this is the slide. This is the remaining piece.
This is part of that first roll. It's the only surviving image, and it's a picture taken right about here of Half Dome. And I brought it because I really want to be able to take a picture of it with this camera, right around the spot where I was. I wonder if things have changed, but this is pretty darn close. The light was different, but this is pretty awesome. I am going to focus here, right there.
That's it. His picture of Half Dome isn't about Half Dome. It's about, to me, what Ansel brought to the table. And it's about what's really behind the photograph. It's the unspeakable. It's really what it is to me. Great photography and great photographs are--which Ansel's are-- you look at them and you feel something. You don't say something.
You really feel something. And I was really fortunate that that feeling came to me when I was 12, and it's still kind of with me today. I mean this is like breathing, man, just to do this. I mean, you have no idea how excited I was to be able to just to bring this out and just to do that. That was just pretty powerful for me.
In Bonus Features, Koci is interviewed by Graduate School of Journalism colleague Jeremy Rue at the Pacific Film Archive Theatre, University of California, Berkeley.