Sunday Thoughts: Through the Lens

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Something that I managed to keep as a sort of hidden talent for all of these years is suddenly getting all of the attention. That would be my photography.

I got into photography in eighth grade when my class went to Yellowstone and I realized I had a sort of knack for taking cool pictures of grizzly bears and sulfuric pits. Romantic, I know. Ever since then, my experimentation and efforts with photography have managed to keep moving forward.

This last month, I’ve had lots of people ask me to take photos for them, and it’s been (weirdly enough) a very humbling experience for me. Let me teach you:

I know very little about photography, but the one thing I do know is this: the whole point is to capture the subject in the best light, in the best pose, and when their smile or the light in their eyes looks their very best. It’s catching the beautiful things a person does and then getting to show that person how they are beautiful. People like to say photography is edited flattery, but in reality, photography is preservation of something remarkable.

As I said earlier, I’ve taken lots of photos in the past month or so. I’ve taken missionary pictures for two good friends, hobby pictures for two sisters, pictures for two best friends to send to a missionary, and photos for one of my close friends. Each session is different and each girl was different, but they were so lovely. Funny and confident and beautiful, their eyes just glowing.

The sad part is that I don’t know how many of them see on an every-day basis what I saw in just one session. The way their smiles elongate when they laugh, the way their hair swings around their face when they tip their heads, the way their eyes crinkle at the corners when they smile. The things they say that make me laugh, the things they say that inspire me. Each minute detail of them is beautiful.

Today I realized that God sees our best selves in every frame. We don’t have “ugly pictures” where He is concerned, because we are His children and He sees our loveliness in everything that we do. It often takes a photo for us to realize how beautiful we are, and sometimes, sadly, it takes much more than that. For God, all it takes is our existence. Existence is beauty.

So you. When you go to work this week or school this week and have a moment when you stare at yourself in the mirror and think, “Gee. I am so worthless/pathetic/horrible/ugly,” remember that you do thousands of beautiful things every single day, and there is almost never a mirror there to show you.

You are lovely. Take it from someone whose job is to make you see it.

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