I love my job of being a photographer. While it definitely doesn't carry the same responsibility as being a parent or paramedic, it has its own responsibilities when it comes to enriching lives.
I know you may think that statement might be taking it too far. But I don't.
Every year I photograph a handful of seniors, both male and female. This year I received a message from one of my senior's mom:
"It was fun watching the two of you work together. You have a knack for making people feel comfortable with themselves and with you."
The mental implications of her compliment have followed me ever since. Even more so when I capture seniors. While a senior session is a great way to memorialize a milestone, I love using it as a chance to reaffirm self-worth. As I get to know my seniors I ask them to bring themselves, and then I ask them to bring items that represent themselves to their sessions.
During each senior's session we chat about the items they bring. What these items mean, the history behind them, current topics that involve them, we even share jokes about them. During these conversations my seniors blossom, their smiles become natural, their laughter is real, and their personalities shine.
Aaliyah's session at the Red Jacket Trestle Bridge showed me how what you bring doesn't have to be an item. It can be a mindset. Her confidence in herself and her passion for all things fashion, was refreshing and unapologetic and beautiful proving that Coco Chanel was on to something when she said:
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.