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Why I do what I do

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I met a very sweet, old man a few weeks ago. His name is Lee. He owns a small cactus shop up at the Goldfield Ghost Town near the Apache Junction. I went in to his shop in search of some cute cacti to bring home and we struck up a conversation about how we came to our present situations, our passion and living our dreams.

It really is a small world. We discovered we were practically neighbors at two different time periods on the East Coast.
Lee’s dream started in the 50s after his vacation to Arizona. It was after visiting from Connecticut that they decided to move here. Lee always had an interest in caring for plants and wanted to open a cactus shop.

I began sharing my own story on why I moved out here, my passion for photography and mentioned that I specialize in photographing weddings.

The next part of our conversation resonated within me that made me realize why I do what I do and how my photographs emotionally connect the lives of loved ones.

This sweet man’s face lit up with a smile ear to ear. He proceeded to tell me about his daughters wedding and appeared to be living the day all over again, as though someone hit the rewind button.

Now, I see the profound impact it has on the bride and groom two weeks after their honeymoon but it’s not often that I get to experience the emotional aspect of a father’s recollections years down the road, if at all.
Within the 5 minutes it took him to tell me about that day, I could feel his energy rise and see the emotions fleeting across his face. He seemed to have changed in that moment. 

He redirected his attention to me and said “Thank you. Thank you for being the photographer who captures those moments that mean so much to us. Not just to the bride, but the rest of the family as well. If it wasn’t for people such as yourself, I would not be able to recall such memorable moments as the smile upon my daughter’s face and the sparkle in her eyes on her wedding day. That was the happiest day of my life.”

I was speechless! All that was running through my head was “WOW”. Pausing for a couple of seconds he then resigned and quietly said “She died just 6 months later from a brain tumor and we never knew it was coming.”

I left the shop with a tear in my eye. I have never been so moved.

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