Tuesday, February 24, 2015

a study on vision, part one


As I work on creating a photography business and structuring a “brand,” vision has been on my mind. I know that I love photography—pictures are one of my love languages; I give them liberally to those I love because I don’t know what gift is more precious than an aptly-chosen moment, held captive. I also love to receive them—captures of bits of my life—although I’m kind of the designated photographer wherever I go, so that’s unfortunately a little unusual.

But I am searching for what it is, specifically, that I love to see in pictures, because I think it will help me define and shape what I seek to preserve professionally for others. So I’m going to brave the  depths of ten years’ worth of images (an approximate 155,000 digital files, all stored on my hard drive and backed up religiously) and attempt to narrow those 155,000 to the most precious images I possess. The ones I would cry if I lost. (Well, loving pictures as I do, I would probably cry if almost any were lost… I have been in the unfortunate position of hitting “format memory card” without knowing the repercussions and such trauma is hard to overcome… but I’ll try really hard to keep it to only the most, most, MOST precious.) And I’m going to put them in a series of blog posts: most precious pictures someone else has taken of me and why, most precious pictures I have taken of someone else (candid) and why, and most precious pictures I have taken of someone else (professionally) and why.

So, deep breath—here we go.

favorite pictures of me

In random order—bear in mind that these are all post-film-age and there are a ton of pictures from when I was a lot younger, taken with Mom’s film camera, that are also really important!

1. “What does a cow say?”

June 2006 (34)

This was taken in June of 2006; I was twelve and my youngest sister, Amy, had just turned one. She loved to make this face when we asked her what a cow said.

This photo is precious to me because it was taken the first year I owned a digital camera, and honestly compared to the quantity of pictures I take now, my family and I were very conservative with using it. It was almost as if the film mentality of not wasting a single negative was still holding strong. (Didn’t help that computer hard drives were MUCH smaller then either!) Add to that the fact that I was usually wielding the camera, not in front of it, and there are comparatively few pictures of me and my littlest sister when she was a baby. There were a couple of others I could have chosen, but this one tells a story that makes me smile, and the outdoor setting reminds me of summer days under the poplar tree at home. Photo credit: my sister Hannah.

2. Inga and Elsa

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Okay I lied—these are still Film Age pictures taken in 2004, when I was ten and my sister Hannah was around eight, with the first pair of breeding ewes we ever raised. We brought up Inga and Elsa from the time they were on the bottle and then bred our own 4-H lambs with them the next year. Gosh, what fun we used to have naming them and raising them and training them for the fair together. We’d take them for walks up and down the road by our house. These pictures remind me of what 4-H was like before life got busy and school got hard… what it was like when raising sheep was pretty much our whole life other than a few hours of homeschooling every day. What it was like when Hannah and I did pretty much everything together. Life doesn’t stay that way, and I kind of hate it. Photo credit: my mom.

3. On the farm


This was one of my senior pictures, taken June 2011 when I was seventeen. I love it because it is a picture of me with one of my best friends, Drem, in one of my favorite places. You can see the farmhouse in the background, and the field we’re standing in is one that I spent every summer morning moving irrigation pipe on between hay cuttings with my sister. Photo credit: Hannah once again.

4. Lenny

Wedding82From Amanda's Cam 143 This is Lenny, my very first fluffy orange kitty. If you have followed my blog for the last several years you know how much I loved this kitty. The first picture was taken when he was just a young little kitty putting up with my childish little ways. And I love the second picture because it is so like him: any time I lay down in the yard or anywhere else, he had to be sitting right there on my lap. It was like he enjoyed it when I came down to ground level with him. He was the sweetest little friend and the fiercest little hunter; I can still hear his meows of triumph outside in the middle of the night, telling the world he had caught yet another mouse (some days he would catch at least three or four, and he had full-grown quail and pheasants in his record too!). Just two months after the second picture was taken, in August 2010, he died suddenly, and I was heartbroken. I have a hard time even writing this without tears in my eyes. Photo credit for #1: my mom (Film Age again), and #2: my friend Amanda.

5. Arad, Israel and “It’s gonna bite me in the butt!”


Spending two weeks in Israel at the end of Bible school was by far one of the most impactful and exciting experiences in my history to date, so I couldn’t possibly leave it out—and I think this picture is perhaps my very favorite from the trip. First of all, it’s taken in the Israeli desert, which was a place that I loved even though it was about 5,000 degrees; secondly, I’m sitting on the back of a white camel (highly important to me for reasons that would cause you to roll your eyes) with my best friend in the whole wide world, my GCBI roommate, Miss Hannahstasia. Who was terribly hilarious throughout the whole experience, I must say. Photo credit: one of my fellow classmates, I think.

6. My wedding day (duh)

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Of course there are a gazillion pictures from my wedding day that I could have chosen, and I am kind of cheating by using four… but these are a few of the most precious memories I have from the day.

#1 - First, getting ready with my bridesmaids and my mom—I love how they are all in this picture, all helping me with the immensely complicated work of getting this big poofy dress on, just like they helped me with SO many other things leading up to this day. I also love that it was completely candid. Photo credit: George Street Photo & Video.

#2 - Then the wedding party prayer in the getting-ready room… my brother prayed for Sam and I and the life we were beginning, and I’ll never forget that. And all of my other siblings were in that circle with me too. Photo credit: my friend Amanda.

#3 - Next, me and my dad before we walked out—if you can’t tell, I’m trying really hard not to cry in that picture. Dad was so calm and strong and made me feel better, and he’s just incredibly handsome don’t you think? :) Photo credit: George Street Photo & Video.

#4 - Finally, a picture of Sam and I right after he first saw me. We have a lot of great posed pictures together, but I love this one because it’s completely unposed and taken from a distance, so you know our excitement and delight is authentic. (And yes, all my wedding party pictures were taken in a cemetery. I personally really like cemeteries and I think it’s a pretty place.) Photo credit: George Street Photo & Video.

7. My baptism


Or maybe this one is my favorite from the Israel trip, I don’t know. But it is precious to me because I was baptized by my dear Bible teacher, Pastor Randy, with an accountability audience of all my GCBI classmates there. This was like the culmination of a year of realizing who God really is according to His Word—I followed Him from Creation to Redemption, and in response it seemed only right to be baptized in His name. Especially at the very place He did so much of His ministry: the Sea of Galilee. Photo credit: one of my dear classmates I believe? Shocking that I’m so forgetful.


Well, seven is the perfect number, right? I’m sure I missed so many, but these are just a few of the pictures that I never want to lose. It’s funny, because I used to hate being in pictures and thought they all looked terrible… but it seems I have stepped beyond that adolescent immaturity. I can see that no matter what, it is time we cannot get back. Maybe I thought I looked stupid or fat or ugly at the time, but what could matter less in the scheme of things? I’d rather have a rich tapestry of flawed photographs to mark every sweet memory in my life than let them fade away because of my own vanity. Looking back, all I can see is the sweetness and the joy; the imperfections just don’t matter anymore.

At the end of this series I plan to do a summary post on my findings. I want to know what it is about pictures that makes them such a big part of my life and passion and I think this might help me find out. :)

1 comment:

  1. Awwww. I already love this series, and all these photographs. Anything else I say will probably detract from the bootifulness of this post, so I'm going to stop now! ;)

    dance a real



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