A few weeks ago, I took a trip to a YWAM (youth with a mission) base in Sarasota, Florida. This trip was a BIG DEAL, although I didn’t let myself think too hard about the significance of it all until I boarded the plane. I didn’t let myself think about it because I knew I’d cry…. I hate crying. For me, this trip was in essence, a trip back to my alma mater…. the organization I attribute my VERY humble photographic beginning. I felt so incredibly honored to be their guest speaker, there were and still are no words.
Betsy and I planned to do a photography workshop style week where we’d cover manual shooting and lighting principles; concepts and skills we as wedding photographers use at every event. But we also decided it was important to spend time discussing story telling…. something I haven’t covered in previous workshops at length. After doing our own DTS in 2007/2008, we discovered the important of story telling with photography and words. We realized that the desire to connect and to be known are so deeply woven into us as humans that it’s a commonality in every nation. People want to be known and validated, whether by other people or by a higher power. By documenting someone’s life, or even simply taking their portrait, it can be an incredibly validating experience for the subject.
Betsy and I let our own guards down, talked about life and death and love and God….. how they’re all woven together and each shoot we do tells a story about one of those heavy topics. Life, death, love, and God. Whether we are wedding photographers, mission photographers, senior portrait photographers, or fine art photographers…. we are all photojournalists documenting and telling stories with light. There isn’t one field of photography that is more “artistic” or more important than the others because we are all telling stories with our art and God can use anything and anyone for his glory.
For this group of students, they’re getting ready in the next few days to embark on an incredible journey into missions. There are teams headed out to China, Greece, Egypt, and Ethiopia ready to take what they believe in their hearts and put it to action. They will begin actively living out the purpose Christ gave the church….
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
With their knowledge of photography and passion for art, they will be set loose into the world, and I am so excited to see what God does through these students. They’ve spent the time and energy honing their craft. They’ve asked questions and pushed through the hard parts of learning manual shooting. They rose to the challenges Betsy and I tossed their way with harsh lighting and problem solving on the go…. and THEY ARE READY. Here are a few highlights from the week….
Betsy even let me photograph her while we demonstrated more communication tips while shooting…. This never happens. She never smiles for real when I shoot her! I felt special. 🙂On the last day, we took some portraits of all the students…
And as a bonus, we got to photograph a few engaged couples too! Jörn and Mary, and Matt and Rebekka…. they were pretty adorable…And on the final day, I snuck a few shots of my very cute pregnant friend Carrie and her husband Joel at the beach…. They’re having a little girl in May!
This trip was such a blessing and I am so thankful for all of your prayers and financial support to help get me there! God worked in such amazing ways in my own heart, and also very visibly in the lives of these students… and now all the photographic knowledge we helped foster is being brought to nations all over the world. The stories that will come out of this have me waiting on the edge of my seat in anticipation…
Here’s Betsy’s take on our week… http://photobybetsy.com/blog/?p=3274
Here are a few of the students’ blogs/photo feeds if you’d like to follow their journeys too:
Anna Noelle: http://www.instagram.com/annanoellle