This is the second time I have gotten to take pictures for Camille. The first was a couple of years ago at her Pop pop's home in Raleigh - one of my favorite photographic experiences! Camille also came to a photography retreat I helped put on in Sonoma this past summer for a group of alumni from my Visual Storytelling class. When I think back to when Camille took my class a few years ago, I had no idea I would see her again. I certainly never thought I would one day call her "friend"!
When I started trying to tell stories with pictures for families, it was out of a desire for real relationships. I was not satisfied with the matching white shirts and fake smiles found in traditional family portraits and wanted a deeper interaction with families. Documenting real life without posing or manipulating is hard. There are no guarantees. No control. But when I let go of my expectations and just let life unfold-- the results are always more beautiful and powerful than anything I could have constructed on my own.
I see our ability to have meaningful, deep, human relationships as a wonderful reflection of our restored relationship to our Creator. That is why Jesus came-- to make a way for us to have a relationship with God. No longer do I call you servants for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15). Real relationships are not easy. Just like Jesus - they require denying yourself, risk, sacrifice, and long suffering but the rewards are always worth the cost.
I am so thankful for the relationships I have formed through photography. And for families that, like me, are not satisfied with family photos which only convey the shallow surface of their lives. I know my method is not perfect and my desire is to continue to figure out ways to tell genuine stories for others. But it sure has been fun trying!
P.S. If you are on your phone scroll down to the end of the page to see some of my East Coast travel locations in June. If you are on your desktop just look at the right sidebar.