It started with an Omelette

Spinach and Feta Omelette

This was so beautiful that I actually couldn’t continue eating it without shooting a handful of photos beforehand. And yes, it tasted as good as it looked. Rarely do I go to the trouble of making an omelette.  My family knows that my stand-by, quick and easy meal, often eaten half-sitting, half-standing, and usually before I run out the door somewhere, is some mixture of leftover brown rice, leftover greens, eggs, and cheese. It looks like a big messy pile. It has passed as both lunch and dinner on many occasions. I actually can’t eat eggs for breakfast. I make exceptions to that rule when breakfast comes at noon, after going for a long walk with Cody and Sherlock. Today my mouth was already watering as I attempted to fold the barely browned, still soft egg over freshly cooked spinach and real sheep’s milk feta from bulgaria. There were little bubbles of olive oil sizzling at the edges, and I was so hungry that I almost didn’t run and get my camera. Then Gillian and I played with the light hitting the plate on the kitchen table for a moment, deciding which angle flattered the brilliant green, bright white, and golden yellow best. She’s allergic to eggs and has never eaten one. She thinks feta is gross, and doesn’t like spinach, yet she was captivated by how pretty the omelette looked. Maybe I should be a food photographer after all…

I was actually fortifying myself to go on a shoot this afternoon. I felt like I needed good solid food. Fortunately, I was going with another photographer because I was really nervous. I was going to shoot for Soulumination, an organization started by a local photographer who I’ve known for a long time.  The organization provides photographs for families with children facing life-threatening illnesses. Most of the photographers have businesses where they do a lot of portrait work and are used to working with families. When Lynette asked me if I would consider shooting for her organization, my first reaction was that I don’t do that kind of photography… I really didn’t even have the confidence to say that I could do that kind of work. Within a couple of days of that conversation, I discovered that I needed to prepare myself to say good-bye to my closest long-term friend. I wanted to be with her and couldn’t. I looked back through my old pictures from years gone by, and wished that I could shoot some more photos of her. I was deeply immersed in thinking about her and her family and already missing her. Later that week another friend reminded me about the conversation that I had had with Lynette. It had completely slipped my mind. I realized then that I was being asked to do something to which I could not say no. Lynette had asked me to step up, and it was only my insecurity that was holding me back. I know that I can do the portraits, I did a whole bunch of senior pictures of my daughter’s friends last spring. It was just such a scary idea to face the possibility of stepping into a family where the photographs I was about to shoot might be the last ones taken of a child. What if I screwed it up?  So today I was grateful to be the second photographer on a shoot for Soulumination. I know I will be nervous again when the time comes for me to go by myself, but at least I have done it once now and I know at least a little bit about what it could be like.

I said yes to Lynette because I had too. The timing made it very clear that I was actually being called to do something out of my comfort zone. Behind that yes was something that I reflected on again this afternoon driving home. Life is a fragile thing. I have three very healthy children. Theirs is a life full of the beauty and vitality of youth. This is the life we like to celebrate in our culture. The young, the strong and the beautiful… we all aspire to this, and have a hard time accepting that our bodies age and change, that some bodies aren’t whole and strong, that sometimes our bodies fail us. I have come to believe, and this blog is a part of that journey, that every moment in life has value and is worth celebrating. To photograph people in old age, illness, or physical decrepitude of any kind does for them what this blog is intended to do, to place value, to honor, and to mark that moment as equally valuable to the journey of being human as are the moments we more typically celebrate.


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