People are beautiful. So are their stories. As a photographer, I get to capture both.
It would be easy to take this for granted, but I don't. I make it my responsibility to create with skill, imagination and honesty––to produce a tool for the memory that is both beautiful and true to life.
Growing up, we had this beautiful armoire with a bottom drawer full of art supplies. I loved that drawer. My mother's kitchen table can attest: To this day, it features an odd assortment of stray brush strokes and other artistic mishaps. Most would simply see a messy table; I see my mother's grace. It seems she was always making a way for her brood of young creatives to explore the world.
If my mother gave us space, my grandmother gave us technique. A trained artist, she would often take my pen in hand and teach me how to articulate the world: that slight upturning of a lip, the sun on someone's hair, the lines of a stranger's face. In short, she taught me to notice.
College only furthered this skill when a dear professor introduced me to the field of literature. Sure, it wasn't the first time I read a book. But it was the first time someone taught me to examine one. With the same skill my grandmother applied to art, my professor unpacked characters and plots. Her end goal wasn't simply to understand the story, though. Good stories, she said, help us understand people.
Today, I get to tell good stories though the lens of a camera. Somehow things come together there––art, detail, character, plot. For these gifts, I owe my thanks to the dear women mentioned above. Each of them taught me the meaning of photography without even knowing it.
It’s a little complicated.
Simply put: I’m bi-located, working in Grand Rapids, MI and Durham, NC.