Soccer injury opens door to art


People may know her as a hipster but before she got into photography she had a completely different life. It was exhilarating, non-stop play in the hard brutal sun and cold winters until the simplest thing like doing lunges during a game warm up turned this soccer athlete into a photographer. A life changing knee dislocation made Erika Dietl choose a new hobby.

“Live each day like it’s your last,” Dietl said. “It may seem like just another saying but I have applied this in my life when my friend Codie Townsend died last year in an accident. I can’t say it took it well because when something like this happens when you’re only 14, you aren’t really sure who to turn to. My camera and my iPod basically turned into two extra appendages because I was with them so often. It really opened my eyes and it’s something that you really can’t fully get over.”

As Dietl faces hard times with her knee and her friend dying, she finds a way to keep her head up by taking her life into a new path of photography.

“A major accomplishment is overcoming my knee problem; I remember when I finally got out of the surgery room I was like ‘this stinks, I can’t even walk.’ It was frustrating,” Dietl said. “I don’t remember much from when I was in the hospital, just that my mom was there with me while they put the anesthesia and then I was knocked out. After the surgery I was loopy on the anesthesia and can’t remember a thing except finally being home. This is when I got into photography because I figured I needed a new activity while I was healing. My mom bought me a Canon, and then last year I finally got a Nikon 3000 and have been improving ever since working on incorporating different ideas and concepts.”

For Dietl soccer wasn’t all that hard to give up, at least at first.

“I had actually wanted to quit the season that my knee had dislocated,” Dietl said. “But now looking back at how my sister is playing still, I really regret not trying to get back into soccer.”

Although the rush of trying to score has been taken away, the rush of trying to get the perfect model shot has replaced it.

“I love trying to see if I can recreate different ideas from magazines that I see, whether they are more modern style models with ‘up-to-date clothing’ to 50s or 60s retro-vintage style clothing,” Dietl said. “There are so many ideas to try out that I could never get bored.”

Her sister, Lauren, is glad Erika has taken on a hobby that she enjoys.

“It was a great way for her to meet new people as well as express herself,” Lauren said. “She has expressed her emotions and ideas through her photographs, as she enters more and more competitions to compare to other great photographers.”

The excitement when little kids get a new toy is the reaction Dietl had when she first got her hands on her new camera. There was no way to separate Dietl and her camera.

“The day she got her new camera she wouldn’t let anyone touch it, not even me,” Lauren said. “Still to this day she won’t let me use it that much.”

Photography for Dietl is something she could never give up; she is always trying her best to create a new unique photograph.

“Recently I’ve just been capturing landscape or object because I never really have the chance to photograph people,” Dietl said. “I’ve been working on incorporating people into my photographs and I’ve been saving up for a new lens so I can have a lens that focuses on the type of photography I want to capture. In all, I want to keep on improving with my photography, travel to different places, things like that will keep me motivated to photograph different scenery and help me develop some new ideas.”

By Desiree Shields