I would like to thank you. I am not sure if you understand the the important part you have played in my life and how you helped fuel me in my journey. If it weren’t for you, I would have never picked up a guitar. I can remember sitting in your bedroom and listening to you strum away, all the while thinking to myself, “I wanna do THAT.” So I did. You wrote songs every day in a journal and it didn’t matter if they were good or if anyone ever heard them. You did it because you had something to say. I think this is one of the most beautiful things about you. So many of us struggle to find our voice – but you have always been driven to be heard in a crowd. Look at all the amazing things THIS has brought you. The Dig, Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe . . . to name a few. You will do incredible things with your life. I have no doubt in this.
You have taught me that “no” is never an option. You have taught me that declaring to the world, “I am a photographer” or “I am an Artist”, in any form, opens every door of possibility, because if I believe in it – there is no reason for it not to be true.
I only had my first DSLR in my hands for 1 month when you told me I had an incredible eye. Granted, you were probably lying . . . but you took my work seriously because I took it seriously. You saw my amateur obsession and ignited my potential with praise and the promise that anything was possible if you worked hard enough at it. So I did.
I took a portrait of you that night. Without ANY understanding of my camera settings. Most likely using AUTO mode. But you LOVED it. Or at least you told me you did. And whether or not you actually meant it – the feeling you gave me was my first taste of exactly why I keep shooting. The exhilaration that comes from finding a truly beautiful detail, which anyone else would see as an ordinary moment, and capturing it forever. There is an Art to what we see and how we individually view the world. No one else saw you in that moment. In fact, no one else was even there in that hallway with us. Up until then I hadn’t thought about my “voice” as a photographer or that I could even have one.
Because of that picture I took, you asked me to come with you to SXSW as your photographer. You handed me my first “gig.” Shooting for The Boston Globe. (!) I was terrified. Hadn’t a CLUE what I was doing! But you gave me a chance, and sometimes that’s all anyone needs. On March 23, 2010, my photos took up a 2 page spread. I had only been shooting for 5 months.
Your belief in me gave me such courage. You taught me that if I jump a net will appear. You reminded me that fear was a good thing. Proved to me that nothing is impossible and made me realize that the only thing in my way was myself.
I am a photographer because of you. Had you not believed in me, I would probably just still be “taking pictures” as a hobby.
My gear list is small. I carry 3 lenses. I don’t use fancy lighting equipment. But my goal with my work is not to have perfect exposure and glorious lighting capabilities. My goal is to tell a true story and remind my subject just how beautiful they are. In case they had forgotten or hadn’t been told in a while.
Thank you for being my friend since we were 11. Thank you for all you have taught me. Thank you or being an incredible travel buddy. And thank you for always being 100% yourself.