Photography started off as nothing more than a way to keep my memories remember-able. Yes, not memorable, remember-able. I think that’s a new word, world. You’re welcome. See, I have a horrible memory. I don’t know why. It’s actually a bit sad. There aren’t a lot of photos from my childhood. If there are more, I haven’t seen them. I hardly remember anything about growing up. My family is constantly amazed that I don’t remember this or that when we actually get around to reminiscing, which isn’t often. Only the events that were so strong in emotion that they marked me for life remain, bouncing around in my head like two seeds in a can. It really makes for a dulled sense of what life has really been like. In high school, I really began to start changing this. I think my high school book is up in the attic, so most of these pics are from college, though there are a few throwbacks to those years scattered here and there.
Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that I really have quite a visually-oriented brain. I have to read something or see it work to understand it. Telling me, nope. Reading it to me, nope. I don’t get it. Have me do it myself, yeah sure I can learn that way, but I am convinced that is mostly because I am looking at what I’m doing. Once I see something, somehow it lodges into my brain and sticks with me much better. So, that’s why photos became so important to me. I was tired of living a life where I forget what has happened, who I was with, and how I felt about it.
I like pretty things. I like art. I love everyday beauty captured *just so*… so it reveals the realness and rawness. I used to only want to be in photos if I felt like I looked awesome. Somewhere along the way, I realized that there’s going to come a day when I am going to think every photo of me from when I was younger looks awesome. That, combined with being tired of forgetting chunks of my life released me from the requirement to be on point in every photo. Instead of worrying about my external beauty, I began to appreciate the beauty of moments and of relationships. These, more than how fit I felt, I didn’t want to forget.
Once I learned how to do it more skillfully, photography became my job. People trusted me to document their weddings, family milestones, and gatherings, and I loved it.
Somewhere along the lines, I heard God telling me this wasn’t my calling – counseling was (another story), so I rested and set down the “big camera” for a while, even in my personal life. I learned how to make good photos even with my phone camera. I kept documenting my life, I created personal accountability for myself, and I recorded who I was in those moments. Maybe the best version of myself, which, we can all admit, is what we’d rather remember anyway. I especially did, considering my memory flaws.
I believe that because I have been able to embrace photography with less restrictions (no more having to look perfect, no more having to use the “big camera”…), I am liberated to photograph more authentically. I’m stoked about this stage of life and how this freedom will empower me to document life as a friend, child, sister, wife, and maybe one day a mother of non-furry children.
I love to keep an ever-renewing refrigerator collage because the power of photos is lost on me if I never see them. That’s why I print the photos and put them where I can’t miss them.
It keeps me grateful and in tune with how much God loves me and provides for me. Instead of just those few seeds bopping around, I’m intentionally filling my can with seeds (soon, I’ll have a pretty sweet maraca can…), with images that I’m delighted to remember.