my sterling scholar

permit me a father’s indulgence. but i can’t help but say how proud i am of my little girl. my little girl (yes, i still see you in pigtails) who will be graduating from high school in the next couple of weeks. i’m amazed at your brilliance. i’m astounded at the test scores. the grades. and the awards. wow. you have achieved far greater heights than i could have imagined. in everything you have far exceeded my expectations. especially in the area that is most important to me — and that is your exceptional level of kindness.

you have always been a wonderful peacemaker in our home. but through the last few years i have seen that kindness extend to a much wider audience. you have a loving, tender heart. i think it shows in the empathy you feel towards others.

thank you for making me look like a good father.

of course, i know if you had any sort of good parenting it came from your mother. but i’m glad to be on the team.

love always, dad

senioritis

i can’t believe we’re nearly to the end of another school year. and this year in particular. this june my oldest daughter will graduate from high school (yes, i’m that old). for the record, this beautiful young lady pictured below is not my daughter. she’s one of her good friends. and soon both will be graduating and moving on to new adventures in life.

makes me wonder how i’ve done as a dad. have i taught her what she needs to know to go off and make a whole lot of choices? choices that can take her all sorts of directions. have i been involved enough? have i been a good example. did i do it right?

then the next questions come flowing in. what choices will she make? who will she marry? where will she live? will she find true happiness and contentment?

there’s more to life’s education than what you learn in school. lately, i’ve found the importance of finding what you’re truly passionate about. discovering what you were born to do. then going after those dreams.

i’ve discovered what fuels me is helping others find hope and happiness. and generally i do that through the films i create. you can see a smattering of my films by clicking the “films” link above.

the young lady pictured below is a fantastic dancer. she lights up when she takes the stage in a dancing role. i wish her luck as she gets ready to go off on her newest adventures.

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the gift of photo

this photo session was a gift. a whole bunch of kids got together to buy this photo session and a print for this family. great kids. great family. and it got me thinking about what a wonderful gift idea photos are.

years ago i went to cover the aftermath of katrina. the damage was amazing. in the storm so many houses instantly became nothing more than kindling. and people’s possessions were totally water damaged if they survived at all. we filmed several families working to put their homes back together. we filmed large men volunteering with chainsaws, hacksaws, and wheelbarrows. they’d load up all the water damaged possessions in a wheelbarrow and dump them out in a long pile next to the street. it was interesting to see expensive possessions suddenly become junk.

i was surprised to see that of all the things that meant the most to people photos were at the top of their list. wherever possible they would try to save each photo. and any photos that could not be saved were deeply lamented. photo albums, even simple snapshots, were huge treasures. and every volunteer recognized that.

if you’re looking for a meaningful gift for someone, find a good photographer and give them a photo session. who knows, they can end up being lasting treasures.

catching up

I’ve been so consumed with preparing the Les Miserables photos that I haven’t gotten around to posting this family session. And you can tell it’s a bit older because white snow is now falling with an eight-inch blanket of white outside. Still I thought I’d share. Love that late afternoon sun that we get around here in the fall.

 

les misérables

Victor Hugo is a master. I remember reading this book during a college break while I was living in Boston. Wow, did it have an impact on me. It’s a story of hope. And mercy. Redemption. And understanding. Of all the characters I think I was most impressed with the Bishop. A character Hugo spends a great deal of time describing how he earnestly cares for others. He relinquishes a sizable salary to serve the people. His only indulgence is their fine silverware. When the Bishop welcomes Jean Valjean, a man freshly released from prison, to his home temptation gets the better of the ex-con. He steals the silver and runs away. When he’s apprehended the next day and brought before the Bishop Valjean tells the police the silver was a gift. The bishop is now left with a choice. One word from him and Valjean returns (rightfully) to prison. But the Bishop sees something else in him. A spark of something better. The Bishop lies to the police telling them the story is true and then asks Valjean why he didn’t take the candlesticks too as they were part of that gift. Valjean is astounded. The police leave and the Bishop tells him, “Do not forget, ever, that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.” Hugo writes: Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of any such promise, stood dumbfounded. “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul I am buying for you… and I give it to God.”

And thus begins an epic journey of hope and understanding.

But as amazing as the book is, the music is equally incredible. If you haven’t had a chance to see the musical performed, you’re missing out on one of life’s great stories. I’m excited that our high school is performing this great play. And even more excited that one of my daughters is one of the lead characters. I was privileged to capture some images from their dress rehearsal. Check them out.

And check out the music, the novel, and the soon-to-be-released movie. Serious life-changer stuff.