Monday, September 23, 2013

Another Lesson from behind the Camera

I find I'm often at a loss in terms of what to do for Jim's birthday, so after Anjelina and I discovered that our men's birthdays are one day apart, I suggested we photograph one another and give Jim and Eric updated photos of their women. Anjie made appointments with her daughter Kelly Ann, a make-up artist. I arranged for Brooke to cut my hair a couple days before the "shoot," and on the big day, I wore contact lenses.

What I hadn't anticipated, in all my planning, was how sad I would feel on the day of the shoot. It had been a hard, hard week. I considered cancelling but didn't want to disappoint Anjie, who'd planned to treat Charleigh (for her birthday) on top of the rest. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't cancel for many reasons, but one above all.

We'd been made up and at the park for a while before I asked Anjie to put her camera down and go stand near a bridge beside a patch of tall and wild grass. She hemmed and hawed: not much or for long, and not because she's shy but because she's way more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

In truth, I wasn't feeling any of it. I felt even less comfortable in front of the camera than usual; I hadn't made time to color my hair, and I knew my eyeballs were sad. And I felt insecure, suddenly, about photographing the photographer. I mean, this is hands-down one of the most talented people I know, and I was off. I knew I was off, and here I was trying something for which I may have felt ill-equipped even if I'd been on.

Then Anjie leaned into the bridge (folding her beautiful brown arms atop the rail) and looked directly into my lens. I found myself staring straight into the soul of this person I love, and the strangest thing happened: I started to cry.

So there I was. Snapping away, tears rolling.

It was such an unexpected thing, and I've been turning it over in my mind ever since. I still don't really know how to explain it. I was thinking how beautiful she is and how much I love her. I always think those things of her, but this was different. When she turned her eyes toward my lens, the feelings came up in a nearly physical wave. A jolt, a shock, of intimacy.

I took many photos that day, but the one above--while not "best in show"--is by far my favorite. I guess I'll never look at it without remembering the moment I took it.

Leave it to Anjelina. She has the most unconventional teaching methods I've ever experienced, but hey.


  1. Sweet, sweet peek into the heart of women friends.

  2. Good gracious. I don't even know Anjelina, but the way you describe this whole experience has ME fighting back tears. I think perhaps it is because we all want a friend or two that we love enough we cry over the beauty of it all.
    You have a powerful way with your words, Brandee.