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Monday, November 12, 2007

Obsession at its Finest

I became a photographer because I am first and foremost obsessed with photographs of myself and my loved ones. I know, it sounds a little Narcissus-esque, but I've always had kind of a lousy long-term memory unless I associate it with an image. So what does a photographer do when she needs portraits of her family and herself? Well, fortunately, I have had the privilege of associating with some of the finest photographers in the nation, and for some reason, they are also some of the most generous and loving people as well. Here's two stories of my recent portrait experiences in chronological order:

Allison is one of three women in our state to hold the title of Master Photographer. She's also the youngest person ever in our state to achieve that status. She's won multiple national awards, teaches classes to other professional photographers, and has one of the most creative and original-thinking minds of any business person I know. You'd think all this awesome-ness would go to a person's head, but not so with Allison. She remains practical, easy-going, extremely generous, and most importantly, fiercely dedicated to her family. I've had the honor of being able to help her with some of her post-production work, and the education and support she gives me is worth far more than my salary. After I tried (and FAILED MISERABLY) to do my own family portraits, she galloped to my rescue and created my favorite family portrait ever. Check out that incredible lighting and gritty urban background! It's completely different than anything I've ever seen before, and I LOVE it! Yes, this is going on my Christmas card this year, so enjoy it twice! Check out Allison's blog and website for more phenomenal portraits: http://www.englishphoto.com/.

The other photographer in my life is Rachel. She and I kind of went through "photography high-school" together, meaning we worked at the same portrait studio together for about 3 years as "sales associates". We had similar educational backgrounds, but very different photographic styles. Just like high-school, those three years were filled with all kinds of emotional upheaval and life-changing experiences for both of us. The kind of events that cement people together forever. I recently had a chance to visit Rachel and her boyfriend in California before my husband and I departed on our 10th anniversary cruise. They took us on the full Southern CA experience complete with In-N-Out Burgers, Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood walk of fame, and Pinkberry frozen desserts. The best part, though, was just hanging out with two people who were really fun to be with. I asked her to take some "10-years later" snapshots of my husband and myself, and what she created makes me cry, they're so beautiful. I don't think anyone (myself included) has ever been able to capture the absolute essence of my husband the way she did: his teasing smile, his "I adore you" stare, his tickle face... These images reflect how our children will remember their Dad, and how I'll always remember my Luv. Go check out Rachel's blog for more images from this slice of a perfect day: http://www.rachelthurston.blogspot.com/.

These portrait experiences have reconfirmed to me how important my job is, and how lucky I am to be able to create these same kinds of experiences for other people. I know you hear me say all the time, but I am completely sincere when I say I feel very humbled and grateful every time I am given the opportunity to create portraits for other people.

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