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I’ve been wanting to do a promo video for our business for a while. Actually, this isn’t the video I had in mind originally. I wanted to create a video of us discussing our photography, showing us with our clients on a photo shoot, and maybe pan or zoom into some shots we’ve taken.
That video will be for another time…
The idea for this specific promo came up when I was driving home from Army duty on Good Friday and listening to a sermon on the radio. Heather and I have been believers in Christ for a few years now, but only recently I’ve felt a fervent desire to really share my faith more openly. After talking with my pastor, Rut Etheridge, I became even more convicted that I should use our photography business to that end.
We didn’t get the video out in time by Easter, but that’s okay. We should rejoyce in our faith not once a year, but daily.
Our goal with our photography business is not to convert anyone or get into a theological debate with other photographers or with the families who hire us. Our goal with our business is to create beautiful photography. Period. But we recognize that this business has been a blessing from God, so we found it only appropriate to honor Him with our business name and a quick promo video.
We hope you enjoy!
P.S. For those photo nerds (like me) who are curious, the main interview and the footage of me with Heather and our son, Phoenix, was all shot with the Nikon D800. The other B-roll footage was shot a couple of months ago with the Nikon D300s.
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This post actually has nothing to do with photography. I’ve been so busy lately focusing on the photography aspect of our business that sometimes I forget that my first passion was writing. In recent months, any time I met someone I intruduce myself as a photographer… forgetting that in the Army Public Affairs world, I made a name for myself as a journalist, and that just last fall I was working on my second novel. Just a few months ago, photography was nowhere on my mind. It was just something I did extra.
I was a writer.
Then photography proved to be a craft with a high demand, and God showed me that I had a good eye for the art. Soon, my writing fell by wayside as photography proved to be a good source of income for my family. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same about my story-telling, so photography took priority in my ladder of passions.
Then, this week I received an email telling me I made Honorable Mentions for a fiction writing award hosted by the University of Pittsburgh.
Although I didn’t win any prizes with the story, I was told the judge was impresed by the work.
“Three Straws” gave me nightmares, which was really really good. It’s the exact trouble the protagonist, Eli, is having, his dreams haunted by children with faces that look “as if someone had taken a utility knife and carved at their lips, noses and eyelids.” The imagery is disturbing and strong, the storyline intriguing. The supporting characters, including a mysterious patron at the diner where Eli works, are well rounded and we feel the presence of their own lives off the page. Like the hole behind his trailer that Eli compulsively returns to to dig, I felt myself returning to this creepy tale, taken as I was with its well developed themes of religion, work, and letting go.
You may find it strange that someone like me might write a “horror story,” but at the core of “Three Straws” is a message of salvation. Eli’s struggle reveals that we, as sinful creatures, cannot rely on our own works.
Receiving this honorable mention made me realize that I don’t want to lose track of my passion as a writer, even as we become more and more known as a photography business. I think that much would be lost if I abandoned that craft completely.
I sense that God used this as a reminder of my other talents. There is still much I want to accomplish through writing. I have a novel on my computer that’s only halfway finished, and it would be a great shame if I never got around to completing it.
With that said, I don’t mean to alarm anyone — especially all of you who have already entrusted us with your family and wedding photography in the coming months. We are still very much committed to photography. It’s something we love doing, and something in which we want to continue to grow.
What may happen, however, is that some changes may take place with this website so that I can incorporate my writing into it as well. We certainly want to keep our photography at the forefront for all of you to enjoy, but we may add another page here in the future dedicated even more to writing.
Thank you all in the meantime for your support, and we pray that we may continue to serve you to the best our abilities and talents!
Yesterday, Heather and I attended a Sportsmanship Workshop in Peters Township presented by former Steelers center Jeff Hartings. First of all we were very impressed and pleasantly surprised because we didn’t know Jeff was a believer, and when I heard him speak openly about his faith in God my ears perked up. There’s always a sense of joy that comes over my heart every time I meet other Christians.
His speech focused on the mentality youth sports has today, and how obsessive it has become over winning and losing. It’s come to the point where kids can no longer enjoy a sport for the sake of playing. Jeff admitted that he himself grew up worshipping football and became sick and depressed over the years losing to the Patriots in the playoffs. (The city of Pittsburgh can sympathize with that, Jeff). It wasn’t until after he retired from the NFL that he became convicted believer.
I never grew up in high school sports, because, quite honestly, I’m not much of an athlete. Heather however played softball, volleyball and participated in competitive cheerleading in Springdale. She agreed with Jeff’s sentiments over the obsessive mentality that exists in school sports. It was something I never really considered being an arts guy myself.
Jeff made several interesting points, but as he went along he said that the problem is with the competitive nature of sports. He questioned why parents agree that competition is bad for young kids up to a certain age, but suddenly it’s acceptable as they mature. He argued that competition is what’s at the heart of the problems. It’s competition that has eroded sportsmanship in our youth.
At that point, I reflected over what he had to say, and ultimately I would have to disagree. It’s not so much the competition itself that’s evil, but rather the pride behind it. With a genuine sense of humility, competition brings out the best in us. It allows us to improve and become innovative. Competition is what drives us to find new solutions and stay on top of our everyday challenges. It gives us a sense of purpose, and it prevents us from become apathetic.
There is nothing evil about competition. But when competition becomes an idol, when it becomes the ultimate goal of our lives, then yes, it can become a serious problems. Playing games while keeping score allows players a way of measuring themselves. The point that Jeff made was that some players will measure themselves ONLY by how many points they score, how fast they run, and where they stack up along the ladder to the top. In that case, I agree with Jeff in seeing the harm of kids focusing solely on their own achievements and measurements.
But again, the problem is not competition. It’s pride.
Pride is at the heart of every sin. It’s a violation of every commandment.
Ultimately we have to teach kids not that winning and losing doesn’t matter, but how to win and how to lose in humility. That’s easier said than done because we’re fallen creatures, but it’s something we must do in raising our young athletes. Humility means work hard, but give credit to God for all of our achievements. It means being satisfied by what our bodies are capable of doing, and not become obsessed by the desire of perfection.
That’s not something only athletes struggle with. I myself lack contentment in the blessings God has given me and my family. The truth is that we should be thankful even for the things God has NOT given us. If we don’t have something (a certain wealth, an athletic talent, a higher level of fame) is because God knows we can’t handle it. There are way too many examples out there of men and women who squander everything they own. We should see these people as cautionary examples, not glorious plateaus we ought to reach.
One of the many things Chirst came on earth to teach us is humility. I pray for a growing process in that every day because I certainly need to.
(Jeff is a big part of Urban Impact located in the North Side of Pittsburgh. It is volunteer organization to bring new life and love to kids and teens who live in the city. To learn more about Urban Impact visit their site at www.urbanimpactpittsburgh.org )