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….
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…
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.
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.