there’s this really beautiful part of dead poet’s society in which robin williams’ character says:

“we don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. and the human race is filled with passion. and medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. but poetry, beauty, romance, love: these are what we stay alive for. to quote from whitman, ‘o me! o life!…of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless…of the cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, o me, o life?’ answer. that you are here–that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play “goes on” and you may contribute a verse. what will your verse be?”

this is how i feel about art.
i photograph because it’s important. and because this is what we get, at the end of it all.

being a photographer is humbling and has connected me more to my own humanness than anything else has. funerals, births, tears, mountains, valleys. i get to take my camera onto sacred ground, and for that i am forever humbled.

i didn’t enter the wedding industry because i was obsessed with weddings. in fact, i’ve given the side-eye to the Wedding Industrial Complex for quite a while. and yet i’m here, a proud wedding photographer, because photography is my way of engaging with the world.

at the end of the day, all of the flowery, fluffy, decorative excess doesn’t mean a thing–but the people really, really do. that’s why i’m here.

i believe true art tells the truth in a way that it depicts an element of the human experience that resonates with others. it is why i (and you do too, probably) often cry at spoken words, songs, dances, and art galleries. it is the shiver in my spine or the twist in my gut that makes me feel something. it connects me to the artist, it connects me to the person i’m brushing shoulders with, it connects me with the stranger walking down the street.

a piece from andrea bogdan’s artists’ statement has stuck with me for years: “they are imperfect living souls tethered to earth, caught in a sweet moment in time with their blemishes exposed. they are embarrassed, courageous, vulnerable, expectant, powerful, embattled, and satisfied. and we see it, and we see it, and we know how it feels because we are human too.”

and we see it, and we see it, and we know how it feels because we are human too.

that’s art. poetry. and that’s how we should feel when we encounter true, honest photographs. something that i know that i know that i know is that everyone is different, every story is significant, and that we need one another. i need you to remind me; you need me to remind you.

my responsibility as an artist is to show up and to tell the truth. my desire as a photographer is to be a comfort to you, a truthful friend; to be a see-er and to translate the magic in your eyes onto photographs that will carry on for years. to serve as a reminder. you deserve that. your loved ones deserve that.

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