She’s strong and confident amidst challenges
Once upon a time there was an adorable little girl who, when it snowed, trudged through the woods behind our house to play in the snow with my daughters. She was a little blond thing with wide eyes, a tender heart and gentle spirit. It was back in the days when I was shooting film and printing mostly in black and white and sepia. Her Mama asked if I would photograph her little one and her older sister in their home and garden. I think the youngest was around 5 or 6 years old at the time. To my delight, the girls appeased me with their willingness to dress in antique clothing and strike a few “old style” poses. We had a fun afternoon, and I loved having the opportunity to spend it with these sweet girls and their adoring mother.
Time passed..about 13 years to be exact. We moved away, I began shooting digitally, and this little girl grew up to be a strong, independent, ambitious young lady. She had been struggling for many years with a sight disability which prevented her from doing some things other teenagers might be doing but she was accomplishing more than most teens do who struggle with fewer challenges. She worked several hours a week at the local movie theatre, she danced most evenings at the studio in town, and she excelled academically. And she had matured into a gorgeous young woman who still possessed the kindest of hearts and gentlest of spirits.
Her Mama heard I was moving back to the area and asked if I would be willing, after all these years, to photograph her daughter for her senior pictures. I was honored and excited. We had such a fun day. We started in the morning at a field near her lake house and finished up later in the afternoon with shots at and nearby the water. We made a few adjustments to assure she was looking directly into the camera for some of her photos, and that her eyes didn’t get too tired. She nailed this photo session.
A couple of weeks ago, she graduated in the top 10 of her high school class. And the following week, she played a lead role in her dance studio’s annual production. In the fall, she will enter University of Maine at Farmington to study Rehabilitative Services. She will be awesome at this with her personality, and her experience with own personal struggles. I am very proud to know this young lady, and so pleased I have had the opportunity to watch and photograph her through the years. She has not allowed herself to use her sight challenges as an excuse to limit who she is and what she is accomplishing. In fact, just the opposite, she is thriving.
I know it will be hard for her Mama to see her go in the fall, as it is for all of us mothers of recent graduates. Her Mama just may worry a little more than the rest of us. But I have full confidence that this young woman is going to be just fine..more than just fine. She is going to sparkle and shine and take the world by a storm. I see strength and confidence in her senior photos that comes from a deep, knowing, secure place.
|“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you;
they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
|-Bernice Johnson Reagon|