Sunday, July 26, 2015

Watching my Clients Grow Up

     Ten years ago, 2005, I moved to the Cuba/St. James Missouri area, only knowing a handful of people.  I took a chance, opening a full time photography studio, making my passion a reality. 

     My business exploded and I quickly began photographing  every family in Crawford County.  Children immediately became my largest clientele.  

     Learning quickly to bring an extra set of clothes to the studio with me, I never knew how I would look at the end of a session.  Creating images of naked babies became a huge popularity, but as we all know babies excrete body fluids at random.  They also did not care if it was their parent holding them or a total stranger. 

     Also having a habit of bringing live animals to my sets, to spawn natural expressions from those kiddos initiated the same response as human babies. 

     Then I would try to get down on a child's level, enlisting their trust in a short amount of time, while sitting or kneeling in the dirt or whatever else was in the grass trying to snap an image while chasing the little devils around the park. 

   I have reached that age where I have been in the community long enough that I began photographing these children when they were so young and some have grown to be young adults which then meant high school senior portraits.  


   Recently I was deeply reminded of how much our community has supported me in all of my endeavors as I
photographed this beautiful ginger.  I recall those cute freckles and innocent smile from her childhood as I zoom in on her flawless face in my view finder.  Now I see a young woman who still has freckles, but they become her in such a way that they enhance her beauty. 

     In a way, I view these children as my kids.   I made a connection with these nuggets and their families over the last ten years and will always have a fondness for our history.

     I enjoy watching them mature.  
 I value that they continue to put their trust in me for important events in their lives and I cannot wait to see where the world takes them as they move into adulthood.

 More Images on FaceBook



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Losing Out on Four Years of Front Yard Ball

    Losing and gaining many opportunities during this experience of mine has been ambiguous at times.  I have lost a great amount of my memories over this period of recovery, yet have gained an equally great appreciation of my life because of it.

     Having my physical ability taken away from me has been a vast frustration.  Today's blog is about my son and our lost time together.

     My little man was at the end of his eighth year of life when his sisters and I were hit by a drunk driver.  Still an innocent boy who enjoyed his Mother's company and was invariably thrilled at practicing baseball skills in the front yard with me.

     Late evenings were spent with me throwing the ball any way I could possibly think of for him to catch.  Even more gratifying than that, is if I made him dive or roll in some exaggerated effort and he came up with the ball in his glove and a huge smile on his face.  "Do that again Mom, that was awesome!"

     Then came hitting practice with baseballs hit over the fence into the cow pasture.  At that time I could roll under the barbed wire with him to retrieve those symbols of an American past time.  Today I have no problem falling down, but it takes a considerable amount of time and a crane to return to a standing position.  
     For one season, he was obsessed with Albert Pujols batting stance.   Drove me nuts!   That extra wide squat was ridiculous, but I pitched relentlessly until that phase passed. 

     During my second summer of recovery, I stood on my front lawn in a desperate attempt to gain some of that cherished time with my ball player.  Wearing shin guards and a leather glove, I stood for four-six minutes at a time, tossing the ball back and forth with my beaming offspring.  Not being able to move in any direction made him fantastic at throwing the ball at my chest every single time.  But it just wasn't feasible to continue.  Too much pain, continuously stopping so I could take a break, I think I was more frustrated than he was.

     I followed him from game to game with a blue walker that had a Yamaha sticker on the front.  Equipped with wheels and a seat, either him or his sister would end up rolling me to our next location. 

     The pain and swelling of my legs was relentless those first two years.  I napped and iced my ankles between games, but never missed an opportunity to watch my son's passion for running those bases.

     Never had I been so indebted for still being alive to enjoy the simplicity of a hot day in the stands, cheering til my throat was hoarse and excitedly going over in detail every play my now nine year old boy relived.  

     Now that I am speaking publicly about many of those struggles, every now and then I get caught with a question that causes my throat to become swollen with emotion.  

     One such time happened this Spring.  Seven presentations in a row, in a classroom setting had me sensitive to deep inquiries.  A high school senior asked me about my son and I worked that into the end of my speaking production.

     I had not spoken of this before which made it difficult to keep my composure because of how close it is to my heart.  The time I lost with him saddens me.  I feel we were both cheated of those precious moments and I am too often trying to encourage my now thirteen year old man into any activity that includes him and I.  

     Unable to change the past is obvious, I only have the ability to ensure that the present and future are full of as many adventures as my teenage son will allow me.  Cherishing each one and committing it to long term memory, I can look back and feel confident that I am spending my time the way I should be. 

  "Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift.  That's why it's called the present." -Bil Keane