To the Seniors I photograph, if there was a piece of advice I could give you, it would be this: “never say never.”
I know most of you have your life planned out. It looks a little like this:
The reality, is in about 30 years, it may look something like this…. with more cats.
I don’t say this as an old crumudgeon, but more of a suggestion to listen for signs, for whispers.
There was one point in my life I said I would “never move to Valley City!”…. it has been 10 years now, And have no plans of leaving anytime soon.
I also Exclaimed emphatically “I am “Never going to Be a Professional Photographer!” Well… I’m going on about 5 years of that now, and the going is getting good…
Last night I got this message from a Senior’s Mom
It made me cry. For quite a while, and for a variety of reasons, I denied I had a gift.
But there came a point, after hearing a couple different sermons about “we are called to share our gifts,” some signs and some conversations, I gave in and gave it up to Him.
If you are not a religious person, I still say, listen… the Universe will send you signals. It usually whispers instead of taking neon billboards, but there will be signs. And they may lead you directly to the place or thing you said you would NEVER be or do.
And there will probably be more cats…
Growth can be a funny thing. Sometimes it’s completely obvious, like when I try to put on shorts after a long brutal sub zero winter, only to discover that once again they have “shrunk.” Other times, it is so subtle I don’t notice it in the day to day… and then something will happen that will set me on my heels and say “WHOA!!”
During one of my Senior Sessions this summer, that is what I happened. I was reminded of how far I have come. I was reminded at how quickly time goes and those around us grow and change without us sometimes really noticing.
I have known Elizabeth since the Fall of 2014 when I took up Ballet. That spring had NOT been a good one for me, physically. I had a major physical set back and came out of it with a “life’s too short” attitude.
I decided at 40 that I would do something I had always wanted to do: Ballet.
Our class was originally 5 females: 3 adults and 2 teens.
(i.e one MATURE adult and the rest almost young enough to be my daughters…)
We were as they call it now the “OG.” In a twist of fate, I will photograph both of these young ladies senior images this year.
During this time in my life I adamantly expressed “I was not going to be a photographer.” But as I have come to realize, when you taunt God with YOUR plans that YOU are going to do, or not do… he laughs and laughs and laughs….
The Spring of 2015 Micaiah, the Ballet Instructor asked me to take images of the classes. I happily obliged, though I was still not a going to be a photographer. Here is Elizabeth as she has remained in my mind. Our sparkly, wonderful, carefree spirit, Elizabeth. There is truly no one like her and I have loved her through the years.
But sometime, when I wasn’t looking,
She grew up.
She is beautiful. She sparkles from a carefree confidence it has taken me almost 45 years to pretend to have. She is one of those people your life is better, having had her in it.
And I grew into my passion. After denying it and pushing it away for a long while, I came to terms with the fact God had given me a gift to use, and we are called to use our gifts. So I have. I’ve learned and grown and learned some more, and set my standards higher and higher… And sometimes I get to see just how far I have come.
I am so utterly grateful for being able to capture her then, and now, as she heads into her Senior Year.
Wherever life takes her, she will laugh and sparkle and dance.
That is just the Elizabeth way.
This past weekend I had the privilege to be the candid photographer at a beautiful wedding. Professionally this means that I get all of the fun with about 90% less stress. I get to sit back and observe and wait for the magic to happen. Wedding photos are pretty planned out, scripted. But many times I can find magic in the unscripted.
Such is with life. We can plan and plan, but really, when we sit back and think about our life’s journey, hasn’t much of the magic happened when things went not as expected? I love waiting for the in-between moments.
They are images of true story telling.
This wedding was full of them!
I am sure I didn’t cry as much at my own wedding, but there was just SO.MUCH.LOVE. It was truly beautiful. Steph and Dylan, you two share something magical. Thank you for letting me be an observer to that Magic.