“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” ~ Alan Cohen
We assembled at a nearby church after Uncle Greg’s funeral. After I had finished eating, Uncle Harold – twin to Uncle Darrell – approached me and said, “I don’t know if anyone has ever thanked you for what you do, but I want to thank you for all the pictures you take of the family.” I was deeply touched. Others have thanked me, but it’s always nice to hear it, especially from one as reserved as Harold. I remarked that he was noticeably absent from Charlene and Tony’s wedding photos. Then I giggled and began snapping. As usual when my camera appears, he recoiled (a typical reaction), but I caught him anyway (that also usually happens). I keep a 40mm pancake lens on my camera for ease of transport. I compose the images in the camera rather than cropping afterward. This combination requires close proximity to the subject, and it changes the dynamic of everything. This technique can, and does often, feel invasive, even for me (and I’m behind the camera). Yet this intimate exchange has everything to do with the essence of the image. Expressions range from hilariously candid to affectionately beautiful, but they always reveal some truth about the person being photographed. It separates the men from the boys, if you will. It demands that we each let our guard down in an act of trust for the briefest of moments. Not everyone can do it, and those that do are often surprised at how good they look. That isn’t about me. That’s about them. It’s the kindness of who they really are, and it’s a profound honor when they let me see it. As I like say, I’m just a reflection.