If I could give you one thing, it would be a camera. it would change your life. It would change the way you see. Walking down Main Street in your town, passing the pizza place that's always busy, the crosswalk whose crossing guard sleeps on the bench nearby, stepping into a flower shop just to get a sniff—with a camera in hand, it would be a completely different experience. The way you walk would change. Your head would be up and turning, your eyes seeing things they've never quite seen before. The dandelion growing out of the parking meter. The way the sun shines through the American flag hanging above the avenue, its eighth stripe aglow. Suddenly the world is full, harmonized, crisp with life, expressing God in all His radiance.
And that is why I am a photographer. With every shot, I learn more about myself, the world, and my place in it. I am asking questions with every step. Why do I love that shadow falling across an ancient armchair on a porch? Why do I get excited about windows, smiles, textures, and skies? What is it about the single man running on the Zanzibar beach, caught on perfect white sand, holding together the blues of water and sky? It's because it fits, it's whole, it's beautiful, it's Life. The man, exactly where he needs to be. He is. I named that photo "Still," and I love it so hard I feel like squeezing it—the way you want to squeeze love into your little brother, he's so cute.
I take about a thousand pictures per trip. It takes me a week to organize them, weed out the nothings, pick the albumable 400, and fall in love with five. I am serious about this falling-in-love business. Certain photographs hit me hard, leave me speechless, become divine in a sense that transcends the usual ooh-aah! I love, not my ability to capture, to compose, to see, but the image itself, its being. The photograph has long moved beyond me, Julie, and can only be one of God's marvelous works.
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