Documentary Photographer

OUR SIMPLE STORIES : STRAWBERRY PICKING

 

I whipped the cream as the buttery crust baked in the oven.  After dinner, their little fingers excitedly arranged the freshly picked strawberries on top (sneaking a little taste here, and an extra strawberry there.) 

We gathered around the table and Daniel asked, "who do we have to thank for this pie?"  Immediately the children answered, "Mommy!"
"Yes!," he said. but then pressed further: "And who else?"
After thanking themselves for picking the berries and helping assemble the pie, 
"The farmer who grew the strawberries!" said one,  "Anya who gave us the recipe!", said another.
"And ..." Daniel continued, "who made the strawberry, and the rain that watered it, and the sun that fed it? and the cow that gave us the cream for the filling and the butter for the crust?"
"God!"They both shouted! 

There is nothing like gathering a crop fresh from the earth to help you appreciate the incredible miracle food is and the many hands and hearts that help us fill our tables with sustenance and stories.

Writer and professor Norman Wirzba says that "Food is God's love made delicious," and I don't think you need to eat much more than a ripe strawberry picked right from the patch - or maybe a slice of Anya's strawberry pie - to know that this is true. 

 

MY WHY.

 

We’ve all experienced those moments. The ones where things seem to slow down, we see a bit clearer and just want to make time stop – to linger in the present experience, to make an imprint of it on our mind so that we will always remember, not just our perceptions of it, but the gut feeling of it. Usually, it’s the people in our lives that are the catalyst for these profound moments. The love of a spouse, a child, parent or friend – we want to hold on to the moment, because we really want to hold on to them.  At least that’s how I feel about it most of the time. As a mother to 3 small children I often feel bombarded by how quickly things change – and it’s not infrequent that I use cliché’s like ‘in the blink of an eye’, or ‘it feels like just yesterday.’   And such is the ache of life. It’s overwhelming beauty and it’s undeniable fragility. And so, I take pictures.

I take pictures to remember.

 

On my bookshelf amongst the clutter of novels and memoirs are several old family pictures - my dad in his 20's (a photo taken by his sister and talented photographer), and my parents on their wedding day. One of my most treasured is an old image of my grandparents. My grandmother who I never met and the grandfather who, hardened by World War II, was always quiet and unemotional.  In this image they are young and carefree. My grandmother laughs as she drapes her arm on his while he pulls back a toy slingshot. Images like these have the miraculous ability of connection – introducing us to loved ones passed, or showing us a different side of someone we’d never known before And so with the weight of the knowledge that one day it will be photos such as these that will introduce me to my great-great grandchildren, I take pictures.

I take pictures to preserve.

 

Photography is not just my job, it is a passion that ignites me toward awareness and creativity. It is with a hope to preserve and remember that I make images for others.  Over the years, I have been privileged to witness teary-eyed couples make their vows, and then years later beaming as they hold their newborn.  It has been my honor to photograph babies from the time they were in their mother’s womb to their birthday, to when they became big brothers and sisters. I’ve documented moments of deep beauty in times of great joy and celebration, and I’ve also been there to document the simplicity of the everyday – which, really, is just as profound. I’ve seen couples at the beginning of their lives together and watched kids grow up from behind my lens. And through all of these moments I’ve been witness to and honored to capture, I see over and over again that, really, love is what our stories are all about. And so, I take pictures.

I take pictures to tell the story of love.