Several years ago a former boss gave me the charge (and ultimately, a challenge) to learn how to use this new-fangled thing called a digital camera. He purchased the camera, provided new Publisher software, sent me to an expensive training with a tasty lunch provided and told me he wanted a newsletter with lots of pictures going out monthly for our hospital. I gladly participated in the training and thought I was ready to shoot and send. Boy, oh, boy was I wrong. I had the hardest time producing that newsletter…the absolute hardest time! Not that my writing was off as I took great pride in being able to clearly and cleverly use words to tell stories, but the pictures were horrible! I spent so many days and nights doing, re-doing and re-doing again that frustrating front and back piece of paper. I shed so many tears each time I left the hospital president’s office after he told me what I submitted was not right. I can remember vividly thinking he was the worst boss ever, and that he had it out for me just because he wanted me to learn how to take pictures that didn’t make our doctors look like a fish by the face. (The mind has a mind of its own sometimes. I’m so glad I grew up and quickly grew past my own thoughts to see him as one of the best leaders from which I have ever learned. We actually had a great relationship after I made it out of that rocky mountain my mind decided to build.)
Fast-forward more than ten years and I, to this day, still carry a digital camera with me everywhere I go. I owe that to my former boss Charlie Faulkner. He pushed me to get past fear and move from mediocre to the blossoming photography novice I am today. Many times people have said, “You should take pictures for a living”. My response (at least in my own head) is, “I do.” I take pictures because I love life, and believe, if anything, it’s worth being captured, shared and savored. I love to see life unfold with each photo. I love looking back to see growth. I love reflecting on pictures that don’t tell the story of what someone was going through, but show forth inner strength in spite of. I love the thought of recording life on paper, film, Facebook, blogs, Walmart.com, disk or a desktop so that we can always be reminded of whatever or whomever we deem worthy of remembering.
Recently I lost a dear loved one. Her passing was the latest in what seems like a lot for my family. I guess that’s how it feels when you have a large family or are close, even as a smaller family. I now have the unadulterated privilege to be able to look back and reflect with each photo of her and those no longer here. I also have the blessing to be able to share with those who also take comfort in remembering “the good ol’ days” even if those “good ol’ days” only happened a few months ago.
Pictures mean a lot to me. They’ve never produced a financial pay-off, but the personal reward I get each time I see something or someone I want to see is invaluable. Being able to share it with others means the world to me. Often people run from me when they see me coming with my camera in tow. They’ll either run or hide their faces in shy reaction. I would encourage us all to reconsider the next time we see a smart phone, Nikon, Fuji or Cannon coming. We should be ready to let our lives/lights, in all its splendor, humor, seriousness, candidness or fabulousness be caught. It means much now and will mean so much more later. As Beyonce once said, “Now pose for the camera… now flick flick flick.”