“Some photographers take reality…and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.”
Photojournalism 1, a mandatory course for University of Texas at Arlington journalism students, put a camera in my hands and required a bit of education about the tool in order to graduate. So I learned my way around a camera, kinda. I am still learning.
A few months after that class, I went to Ireland, an e-bay camera in hand… and I took photos.
A few months after I went to Ireland, I went to Africa, aforementioned camera in hand… and I took more photos. I loved those photos. I love them still.
When I got back from Ireland, I snapped some photos of a friend’s baby. A friend of that friend viewed those photos. She called me. Would I photograph her three-month-old son? Amber was already doing photography and knew her way around her camera far better than me. She encouraged me to go for it. She would help me edit.
Nervous, I said yes. And then I got to meet Max…
I saw Max, my first little photo subject, the other day. I photographed him and his new baby sister, who is now the same age as Max was when I met him. I blogged some of their photos on the Fly blog.
Before that first session, Max’s mom, Lauren, knew I was a newbie photographer. She hired me, because she believed something about me that I didn’t believe myself at that time. She believed I could capture something of who her little guy was as I pointed my camera. In so doing, she gave me a gift.
My life is full of crazy turns and seemingly random events that have led me to the page I am on. Becoming a photographer has been one of the sweetest, most amazing pieces of my story. I love that I get to work with one of my best friends. I love that that work is seeing people as they are and often at their best: loving each other.
God knew this piece of my destiny was in me when he brought me back to Texas. He knew when I met Amber so many years ago. He knew when I continued a journalism degree that I wasn’t sure fit. He knew when I went to Ireland and Africa, camera in hand, with determination to bring a few visual memories home. He knew when Lauren called me after seeing some of my photos.
My sister Debo helps out with Max and his sister on Thursdays, and she took this photo of Max and I at the end of the session. I am going to hang it on my wall to remember that God’s dreams for us are bigger and better than we can hope or imagine.
Max reminds me, in the form of one tangible, vibrant little boy, of God’s kindness. Seeing him every few months creates in me a hunger to see others and tell their story, with photographs and words… as a way of saying thank you to God by showing off some of the beauty in the people he’s created.