A few years ago, I came across this really awesome (and very poignant) quote- I found it (or it found me) at a time when my life was essentially flipped upside down. I was questioning things a lot: where I was, where I was going, and who I’d chosen to surround myself with. And then, I found it. I’d like to say it was scrawled someplace significant but it was probably doodled on the inside of a college textbook or something… but it basically slapped me in the face: “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.” And wow. It was exactly the lightbulb moment I needed. And while I’ve stumbled and backslid a few times since, that saying is now always in the back of my mind, like the good advice I don’t always follow but do always remember- eventually. Because life is about connections. Like photography.
It’s easy to snap a picture of something pretty. There’s pretty stuff all around us- a sunset, a bunch of flowers, whatever. But the challenge of creating lies in making something a little bit (okay, a LOT) better than something that’d hang on the wall in a hotel room- and the best challenge of all is connecting. With a face: eyes locked, betraying the mind. With a moment: head thrown back in mid-laugh, shoes kicking up in the air. Or with a place: connecting so well that you’d swear you could pull a Mary Poppins and be inside that place in an instant. The connection is what I love most about photography- connecting with the camera, with another person, anything.
I find myself, especially at weddings, dropping my camera down from my face for just a moment during the first dance- because I love watching that connection between people in love. I sometimes hide around the corner of my living room hallway, watching my daughters and their own little connection: sisterly, fiery, loyal and loving- I stifle my laughter when my Little One fights back against her big sister’s bossiness with a bite. The connections in life- no matter how meaningful or superficial- are what make us.
And I’ve had lots of connections. I still wonder about some- as in, what the HELL was I thinking?- and I miss some. Regret some. Hold onto some. Let go of others. (Sometimes multiple times.) Every single connection really can be divided neatly into a category: season, reason, lifetime. I literally have a photographic memory- a blessing and a curse- and forever have those connections, no matter who they were or why they were, ingrained into my mind. And into my photography too. And that. is. awesome.