- my why -

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Photography is how I view the world. A look into what I see, and what I find to be so beautiful, and worth sharing with others. Through photography, I can take a mere instance of life – whether it be a flower blooming, a starlit night on the prairies, or something magical between two people – and freeze it in time. And these become our memories.

Memories are “the most powerful kind of magic there is. It makes us stronger…” and “these are the memories of those we have loved and lost. And if we hold their stories deep in our hearts, no one can ever take them away from us.”

- Kubo: Kubo and the Two Strings

Time passes us by; things we were looking forward to, go by in a flash.

“If you must blink, do it now.”

- Kubo: Kubo and the Two Strings

And suddenly we’re on the other side of it, wondering if it actually happened, or if it was merely a dream. I’ve noticed those instances a lot in my life. It makes me sad that it’s been over. But looking back at photos reminds me of how very real those things were, and how much fun we had in the midst of them. Photographs remind me of the feelings we had for the people who may no longer be with us, and of the way a simple smile or greeting could lift even the most horrible feelings when we see them.

This was my Great Gran, Rose Smith, a beautiful little British lady. She passed away back in September of 2011. This image is the personification of that sweet lady. She was always good-natured and sweet. There were times when the spitfire personality of her youth would show through, especially through her love of Football (the American version), and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss her. Even writing this now, tears are coming to my eyes as I remember her sweet, “Hi Em,” as we would go into her little apartment to visit. She’d serve us tea and cookies, and we’d sit around in her small living room for a visit.

At the time, I didn’t soak it in as much as I should have. I was young and times spent at Great Gran’s were boring because she didn’t have any of our toys or video games, or good cable. I so wish I could have spent more time with her, and it tore me apart when she passed.

In this image, she looks happy and warm and the person you wish you could spend every day with. What it doesn’t tell you is that she was battling Cancer, was legally blind, and had difficulties throughout her day-to-day life. She enjoyed her time spent with her best friend, Lil, and brought us the best jokes. Even blind, she could play the piano amazingly well, and I loved to hear her plunk away on the keys of her electric piano from Costco.

Without photographs, sure, we would still have memories. But those memories fade as time goes on; we forget names and faces, personalities and moments. I can’t ever remember all the details of those times we spent with Great Gran. But this image always brings it back with a force that I can’t reckon with, and it makes me miss her incredibly. But that reminds me of how much she was so fiercely loved.

As a photographer – as an artist – I photograph what needs to be remembered. Whether authentic moments or artistically arranged scenarios, these shots will be viewed by so many different people. They become a peek into our lives, the epitome of who we were in that time. They memorialize not our exterior person, but the soul that lives inside and all the things we did in life that are worth remembering; the hardships, the struggles, the joy, the love, the milestones, and everything in between.

I photograph because I am truly passionate about the art of photography, but also because I know how essential photography has become for people. It brings me so much joy to share this God-given talent of mine with people who value the importance of timeless memories.

“And that really is the least of it.”

- Kubo: Kubo and the Two Strings