Beyond the Camera

At a recent event, someone mentioned to me that they could see that I really love what I do. It was a spoken simply as a comment, but to me it was a deep compliment. Yes, I truly love what I do – beyond the “job” of it, beyond the finished product – I love getting to preserve special memories for my clients.

The event I was photographing that day was a child’s birthday party.  The birthday girl was turning 3 years old.  I got some great images of her playing with friends, cutting into her birthday cake, smiling with family.  But there was more, things beyond the camera, that make me love what I do.

For example, the first time I met this little birthday girl she was in 2014, just a few moths past her first birthday.  This is the expression she gave me most of the day….

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I don’t think I was able to get a single smile out of her that whole day.  But the fun part of my job?  The part that goes beyond the camera?  Well, it was this smile…

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The one that lasted from the from the beginning of the day all the way to the end.  It was getting to watch a little girl grow up, watching her fun personality develop.  It was about her joy in getting show of her brave new skills of jumping off a foam block into a pool full of plastic balls.  Those are the things that go beyond the camera.

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When you look at this photo, you may just see a photo of me with a cheeky, cheetah boy.  But I can see beyond the camera – to a little boy that’s part of an amazingly loving family, a family that was one of my first photography clients, a family that took a chance on a random, unknown photographer who was just starting out 3 years ago, a family that I’ve watched grow, a family that had three children in that first photo session, but now has a fourth, that I got to meet for the first time this same day.  I can see so far beyond the camera, all the way to the oldest brother who is taking this photo, a little boy who I like to believe remembers being allowed to do the same thing at that session 3 years ago.

Those are just a few of the reasons that I love what I do so much.  It’s about the photos, yes, but even more so, it’s about the people.  And for those people, especially little boys tho love to use the big camera, I will put that strap around their neck, say a prayer, and step from beyond the back of camera to the front of it, allowing them, in that moment, to become the photographer.

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