Each day of your life is so precious - but your ability to experience that awe and wonder comes from whether or not you’re allowing yourself to slow down, open your eyes, and see it - to fully embrace the moment that you’re in regardless of where it is or what it looks like.
When I was a photography teacher at Bloomington High School North, the very first assignment that I would give to students was to have them walk around the school building to find 10 things that captured their attention to take photographs of. After I gave the instructions for the assignment the room always filled with unenthusiastic sighs because this isn't what they signed up for. What could they possibly photograph in this building that was going to be aesthetic or whatever it was that they had envisioned in their minds? They believed that beautiful moments had to be curated and carefully crafted. Walking around taking photographs of their everyday surroundings certainly wasn't the way to do it. There wasn't beauty to be found in the mundane.
As I allowed them to feel their disdain for the project I explained to them, “Each day of your life is so precious - but your ability to experience that awe and wonder comes from whether or not you’re allowing yourself to slow down, open your eyes, and see it - to fully embrace the moment that you’re in regardless or where it is or what it looks like.” The room always got quiet as I gave them some time to reflect on this idea and then I sent them on their way to take photographs. Each year that I did this project I never once got the same photograph. 1 building, 10 things, 180 students, 1,800 unique moments. If this project taught them anything it's that their life and journey through this world is unique and worth reflecting.
What I think we all desire to remember are the authentic moments of our lives that are constantly changing, that can never be relived or repeated.
You see, I couldn't be a photographer of people until I learned just how important our ordinary moments are. While the rehearsed smiles are wonderful, what I think we all desire to remember are the authentic moments of our lives that are constantly changing, that can never be relived or repeated, no matter how simple they may be. I want to remember the way Cora hugs the people she loves so tenderly, the way Audra makes everyone laugh by being wildly expressive, the way Willa is adventurous and wants to experience the WHOLE world, and the way that Wes still has the ability to hold all three of our sweet girls with his whole arms. While I love the matching outfits and bows I know these are the memories that I'll treasure the most.
What being a photographer has made me realize is that everyone has a distinctive story that is worthy of capturing and celebrating. I always love getting the reactions from clients after receiving their galleries for the first time. Often times clients respond as if they are seeing themselves or their lives from a wholly new perspective. The most magical part about capturing these moments is that we are able experience and feel the simplicity of our lives with a deeper sense of awe and gratitude. When we elevate the ordinary in our life, we're able to experience the extraordinary - and by doing so we're able to fully see the people that we love (and ourselves) the way that our Creator sees them. What a gift.