The tumultuous events of 2016 brought to light a previously displaced passion inside me. I took the bull by the horns, quit the U.S. Postal Service and am now dedicating my time building a living that will utilize my developed talents. With such a short time on Earth, what does it all mean if you don’t do what you love?
A moving moment as a photographer: Joy hired me to photograph her newborn twin girls. When Joy and I spoke on the phone, she shared that a few years ago, her baby son, Wesley had passed away shortly after his birth and she wished to include him in his sisters’ newborn photos. She requested to incorporate petals from the Cherry Blossom tree planted in Wesley’s honor, her belly cast from carrying the girls, and Wesley Bear—the stuffed bear made in Wesley’s honor— bearing his birthweight and spiritual remembrance.
After speaking with Joy, I knew this would be an emotional photo shoot. We planned to photograph the newborns with the symbolic petals, mom’s plaster belly cast and Wesley Bear.
Never before had I experienced tears filling my viewfinder while taking pictures. Our session became a gentle, sentimental gathering of beauty and eulogy. Photographing new life among the delicate reminiscence of a relative’s passing, I was once again reminded that life on Earth is indefinite. I’m thrilled to have early on found my tool for documenting what matters most in life: our people.
I prefer to photograph with film. I believe film and other historical art practices have the power to artfully illuminate profound information. I also appreciate digital photography, shoot digitally and don’t heavily rely on Photoshop in portraiture. I believe a portrait should describe an accurate representation of the true self. Modern day culture’s bizarre obsession with personal appearance and unattainable perfection distracts us from finding happiness. I’ll remove a stain from one’s shirt, drool and even a pimple—because those are temporary things that don’t depict character. I love photographing people honestly, just as they are, and that is beautiful enough.