Why do we do what we do? I mean, for jobs? Why do we choose to do the job we do?
In my life, I have come across many, many people who do what they do because it is a passion that drives them. A dream that they simply must pursue and chase after, or it will make their bones ache and cry out. I have seen the bush pilots, the hunting guides, the ski instructors, the restaurant owners, the high school teachers, the moms who stay to raise their children, the youth leaders, musicians, artists, pastors, social workers… I have seen these people chase after dreams because WHAT ELSE COULD THEY DO?
As a photographer, a storyteller, a communicator, this is why I do what I do. Because I NEED to. Because if I don’t, it will nag me, like an itch. Because if I don’t, part of me will feel like it’s dying. I didn’t choose the job to make good money, but neither did the teacher or pilot. I chose it because it appealed to me as a way to move through the world and be in relationship with people.
It is always a great honor to photograph families. Even though I am not officially pursuing it as a business anymore…well, really, because I am not pursuing it as a business anymore, I get to do it just because it brings joy to my heart. To watch a family grow and change and add members, what a sweet thing. But there’s more than that, really.
Family is the heart of God, it is His design and the way He expresses His heart on earth and in Heaven.
This photograph. I waited for a few years to take this, but Katrina waited many many more. This moment, this boy, he is a gift, straight from the hand of our good, good Father. He was a prayer in many hearts long before he entered this world. He is the sweetness after grief, loss, ache, hurt. Look at him. And look at her.
Look at that daddy there and all the pride in his face. There was a time, just before Katrina told me she was pregnant, that I specifically remember her radiating the beauty of contentment. Whether or not God gave her a child, she was content in Him. And then He did. That home overflows with joy, with quiet, perfect, long-awaited joy. This family testifies of the image of God, the provision, the perfect satisfaction in whatever His will brings and whatever timing He does it in.
(this one is from the end of May, just a few days before I left Alaska, Katrina was 20 weeks along then)
And this. Steve and his boy with the piano, playing songs that the small one loves in the style that the big one does so well. Steve was one of my first Vail friends when I was in my early 20’s, and watching him grow into a husband and dad, and spending time with his family has been such a great honor. Watching so many of my friends become parents has taught me more about the way God loves us and demonstrates grace to us than anything else I have experienced so far in life.
This is an older photo, and this little guy is in Heaven now. There are now multiple families where I have photographed children who are now with Jesus. Some joined Him just last week, this one was 2 years ago this week. It is a bittersweet thing to see these photos. To remember the initial “Awww” of the mamas as they saw photographs of their babies. It brings pangs, and sometimes tears, but always smile afterward and a profound gratitude that I got to document a tiny piece of life. Photos of loved ones gone seem like a great treasure afterward…I try to remember that in the moment of taking them.
I do what I do because I cannot imagine life without storytelling.
I cannot imagine myself doing something else. It’s not a sales pitch, or something poetic to put on the website. This is life, this is breathing. Life moves, grows, wanes, and sometimes abruptly crosses over into eternity. I want more life, more moments. These stories, these humans, these families and lives knit together are the testimony of God’s goodness and kindness and faithfulness. It is my way of expressing joy to document people because they are the image of God on earth, they each have dignity and a story. Life can be difficult, bitter, painful, for sure. But if we are not alive, then what are we? More life, please.
A few of my favorites from this fall season, in Vail and Alaska: