I've started and restarted this blog post too many times to count. I keep trying to come up with the right words to describe this beautiful young dancer. And as it turns out, she needs no words.
I took this picture at Principal Park on Memorial Day 2016. I don't know this man, but I am thankful. To those I know serving: thank you. To those I know who have served, including my baby brother: thank you. To those I don't know, like this gentleman: thank you.
Like a ferocity of a mother protecting her child, I hear you like I hear my own children. You are loved. We are listening. You matter. Those negative words? We will eat those. Because they make us stronger.
The full series of student images can be found at http://rundsm.org/the-students-of-urban-leadership/.
Navigating life never ends. You simply keep going. Sometimes the road is straight. Sometimes bumpy. Sometimes it winds beautiful and sometimes it turns abruptly.
I've learned a lot about myself this past year, but particularly taking note at what I'm good at. What I'm proud to say I'm good at.
Photographing Hannah was one of those endeavors. I didn't know my artistic career would take me here. But I was so lucky I was asked if I'd consider taking these photos. I was lucky to have stumbled across paths with Hannah and I continue to marvel at how incredible she is every time I look back through these images.
I didn't know I was good at taking photographs like this — that I could capture dancers in this very personal way. But I pray, Hannah knows with her whole heart, what she's good at. Because she is good at this.
“SENSE OF PLACE IS THE SIXTH SENSE, AN INTERNAL COMPASS AND MAP MADE BY MEMORY AND SPATIAL PERCEPTION TOGETHER."
My head has been swimming around this shoot. For all the obvious reasons but for all the deep down hidden ones, too. It's too obvious to talk about my fear of water. But the water has been calling to me since Austin. And when I had the opportunity to create a story with Mae, I dove in head first.
I am honored to have shared these waters with you, Mae. And I am grateful to you, Amy, for trusting me to tell this beautiful story, lifting me up by holding me down.
Mae: as you're heading into your senior year, I hope you forever feel a sense of place wherever life takes you. And may you always let your internal compass guide you, by land or by sea.
“I talked about places, about the ways that we often talk about love of place, by which we mean our love for places, but seldom of how the places love us back, of what they give us. They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer a familiarity that allows some portion of our lives to remain connected and coherent."
*The outtakes. The first takes. And as I often refer to them, the best takes. A giant thank you to the entire Murphy family who helped make three days of shooting three amazing underwater tales, three of my best days.
*All quotes by Rebecca Solnit.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
History attributes this quote to Muhammad Ali. And while his words are powerful, nothing compares to the words this young man can spit. Meet Russhaun Johnson. This young man started college today. And in doing so, made a declaration. Impossible... is nothing.