For so long I have hated everything I have taken a picture of. I felt bored and rehearsed and uninspired. I know this happens to creatives, and likely more often then we like to admit, especially when we turn our passion into profit and need it to survive.
Over time, it wasn't the art of photography that was making me happy, but the things we were able to do and accomplish as a result, like working with other photographers and encouraging them through our workshops and conferences and our work with the girls who God has placed in our lives, but my work..... I would look at it and I was never proud.
In the last year, God has blessed me with an amazing group of photography friends who are talented and strong and just total inspirations, and one of them in particular, Spanki. One day as I was sharing my dissatisfaction with my work, she challenged me to connect with what I was doing as an artist. To dig deep and to show what I felt inside about photography, about the people we work with, she challenged me to connect. To show emotion. To tell their stories.
She helped me see that I was dissatisfied because I was being safe and I wasn't telling the stories that reflect the deep relationships we share with our clients.
I feel like something broke that day and since then I have seeking to really do just that.
This is Aleenah. I have known her for almost four years. She is hard working. Almost to a fault, graduating from high school at just barely 17 years old. She is focused and well travelled and articulate and was there when our business shifted for the better, remember those three precious girls we brought on CreativeLIVE? It was the only time she has miss school her high school career.
Aleenah is now a junior in college, pre-med and mentioned wanting to go to Cannon Beach so bad, on the week where I was unexpectedly planning to go, so I took her with me.
During those 8 hours, without distraction, I listened to her. I listened to her tell me about her life, her family, her goals, her culture, her religion. Her views on service, on politics, on nature and on travel. We shared a meal, we walked the beach and felt the earth under our feet. We laid on the grass and I watched her face light up over and over as she realized that she could check off yet another bucket list item of things she hoped to do in life.
The relationship that I get to have with our girls is likely my most cherished treasure of owning this business..... I thought about that as we paced all over Cannon Beach and then I got the opportunity to photographer her.
All of her dreams. All of her passions. All of her beauty, standing right in front of me. And I was happy. I connect with this. It made me proud to see her story unfolding in front of me.
Thank you Spanki for helping me see what has been missing for so long and thank you Aleenah for helping me find it.
I love you both!