Think for just a moment about the last time you had a life altering experience.
Take your time……….Got it? Good.
We all come to these life events from different directions. Sometimes we are blindsided, other times we are searching out new ideas, but no matter the method of transportation, we all eventually reach a place in which a paradigm shift occurs and our life’s course is irrevocably altered.
Recently, I participated in a CreativeLIVE broadcast with Marcus Bell. Marcus is an amazing photographer and a person I have drawn great inspiration from. During our first day of the three day workshop he asked us to think about the moments in our lives that changed us. He suggested we use these events in our personal history to create connections with our clients in a new and empathetic way. I spent the next few days thinking about everything that brought me to my current place in life. I contemplated my loved ones, personal health challenges, the birth of each of my children, and the first kiss I shared with my loving husband. I noticed almost instantly that becoming more cognizant of these moments changed my behavior. I was more interested in meeting and engaging with others, I was more inclined to listen and connect on a personal level. Marcus suggested that as photographers we need to use the power of our own story to relate and understand our clients. By doing so, we will be better equipped to document our client’s sacred memories.
The second day of the workshop included photographing a vow renewal and mock reception. Real emotion and honest love was shared during what was supposed to be a staged event. Families came together and celebrated Adam and Kim’s union with a genuine outpouring of emotion that moved all of us who were present. They recited vows from their wedding day, laughed, and cried. One of the most beautiful moments was during the reception portion. Toasting of the bride and groom began impromptu. Both families spoke eloquently of the love that binds Adam and Kim together. Here are a few of my favorite images from day two.
The final day was surreal. We photographed portraits of Adam and Kim, then Marcus, other audience members, and myself, shared some personal experiences in front of the camera. As I got into my car and began the two hour drive home my mind swirled madly as I tried to process all that had just occurred. I kept returning to the idea Marcus mentioned about using our own experiences to relate to our clients. In my mind’s eye I replayed the toasts from the day before. I wondered how I could relate to a father, or mother of grown children when mine are so young? What would I say 15 years from now at my child’s wedding? As I sat in rush hour traffic I imagined the words I would share to express my pride and gratitude to the people I love most. And somewhere between the off ramp to the Convention Center and 148th street, I mentally wrote a rough draft of the speech I will give at my oldest son’s wedding many years from now. I couldn’t help by smile in-spite of myself and think, “I can’t wait for that day.” Then I remembered the words of William Shakespeare. He said, “They do not love that do not show their love.” I knew that I shouldn’t wait to express to my sweet children the gratitude I feel for having them in my life.
That Friday was a day filled with emotions. Many tears were shed with new friends both in front of the camera and in the collective privacy of a traffic jam. And while I learned so much during these three days, my life changing moment came quietly, and privately. My moment happened as I walked in my front door, knelt down and huged my youngest son. The warmth of his love summed up everything that had filled my heart in the days proceeding.
My three year old taught me how pure love is. In his short life he has only a few experiences, many of which he may not remember in years to come. But he has felt love, and because of that he isn’t afraid to share his love in return. I hope I can follow the example of my little boy and the advice of my friend Marcus Bell. I encourage you to do the same. Let us look for the experiences we have, no matter how limited, and act with compassion and reverence towards the lives of others. Let’s value every day for the gift it is and most importantly, share our love without reservation.
Below are portraits of Kim and Adam from day three as well as a few “behind the scenes.”
A special thanks to the CreativeLIVE team. Thank you for all that you do the educate and empower others. Thanks to Marcus Bell for leaving a loving family and comfortable home to share your vision and inspire. Thank you to Kim and Adam of Lavie Photography for your example of love and kindness. JuneBug Weddings, thank you for making this course as beautiful as it was powerful. And also a big hug and thank you to my new friends and fellow participants. Angie, Gary, Lyndsey, Scott, and Derrick, you are all amazing!
If you would like to learn more about CreavtiveLIVE or watch a rebroadcast of Marcus Bell’s Course click here. Or if you would like to see the work of the talented photographers who participated please use the links below.
Derrick Hicks http://www.carlynphotography.com/
Angie Jose Arms http://www.photosbyangieandpaul.com/
Lyndsey Fagerlund http://lyndseyfagerlund.com/
Scott Kretschmann http://www.scottkretschmann.com/
Gary Young http://www.garyyoungphoto.com