Make-a-wish

    Recently, I had the awesome privilege of being asked to cover a ‘make-a-wish’ event in our very own Joplin Missouri. The recipient was a boy named Marty, and he actually had two wishes granted. The first was to be able to go to disneyworld- and, before you get jealous, no I didn’t get invited to that one. 🙂

I did get to take some photos during the fulfillment of the second wish however- which was for Marty to be able to host a glow in the dark party for all of his classmates. So fun… pro DJ’s donated their time, and a huge make-a-wish team banded together to make everything happen. Thanks to the Bridge here in Joplin for lending out their location, and to all the make-a-wish folks for making Marty’s dreams come true.

I am honored to have been able to capture a small essence of the evening.

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baby Truman; the story we haven’t told

   Some of you that keep up with my work- or know me personally- may recognize this couple:

They are old friends of mine, Campbell & Kimberly Fisher. There is, however, a THIRD member of their little family you HAVEN’T seen… even though I’ve been taking pictures of him for the last year. He’s been referred to as ‘baby K’, his identity somewhat protected until now since he has been in the foster care program, w/ the Fishers serving as his temporary guardians since he was just a few days old. 

The word ‘temporary’ bites the dust today. In fact, as of RIGHT NOW, the Fishers are officially baby K’s parents; having legally adopted him after a very long, anxious wait to be able to do so.

Now that it is official, I have the very great pleasure of being able to show you a few shots from sessions over the last few months that I haven’t been able to display until now. 

So, so, overjoyed & excited for my friends on this day as they are able to make their family complete. 

And baby K, henceforth, can be known by his official adopted name; Truman Kade Fisher.  

SESSION 1:


SESSION 2:



SESSION 3:




 

The War of Art: part 2 [getting better]

Sometimes people tell me things like ‘your work is awesome! I could never do anything that good!’
Well that sounds real egotistical of me to mention. I didn’t mean it to be. I know there are also people saying ‘well that guy sucks and has a heck of a lot to learn’. It’s just that you don’t always HEAR from the people who have constructive criticism to give.
Well let me tell you something. I used to be TERRIBLE. That means I selective colored things. and I used on camera flash. and I tilted most of my shots on purpose. And, on horribly cheesy flyers for my business (then called ‘smart image’) I advertised my incredibly customizable photoshopping options. OH YEAH.  
[here’s a selective color shot. Just for proof.]
 
 Yesterday I sat across from my writer friend, Lance, at the coffeeshop. We were both editing- words for him, images for me. He put his laptop away and sat a large stack of manuscripts in front of him. Some thick, some thin- things he’d written in the last 3 years.
 
It was a little startling what happened next. Correct-a-pen in hand and 60 seconds into reading the first stapled stack of pages, Lance took those pages, ripped them in half, and calmly walked them over to the trash can. 

I stared at him for a second. With sort of an unintentionally hurt expression. It wasn’t my story- but I still felt sorry for it.

My expression also asked him whyyyyy he would do such a cold, calculating, and merciless thing to a work that he had obviously poured a lot of time, thought, and artistic self into at some point in time!
 
‘It was crap.’ he said. And not in a bitter sort of way. Not to be down on himself. Not to be dramatic. Just that he could read it now and recognize- after having learned a heck of a lot more in the last year or two- that it just wasn’t very good. Not compared with what he was capable of NOW.
 
Well that made me think about MY work.
I used to think that if I looked back at my work from years, months, or even days ago and could honestly say to myself
‘WELL THAT was CRAP!’
that this was depressing. Now, however, when I go back and look through my own portfolio from 5+ years ago…
I can tell you it’s actually pretty bad. Not that it was all bad, but I can identify the flaws, the many many flaws, and I can tell you what I’d do differently if I were to re-take that image now. And this is a GOOD thing. It means I’m better. Just like Lance is better. Just like my graphic designer friend Matt is better at making websites now than he used to be and my wife who couldn’t crochet at all 5 years ago can now make an optimus prime washcloth in no time flat. (yes it IS awesome).

Does this mean I’M great now? Of course not. Compared to one photog getting started, maybe I’m pretty good, but compared to another, I may be awful. But my real hope is that in another year I’ll say what I’m making now isn’t so good; in another 5 years I can say it was actually real sub-par; and in another 10, that it was terrible.

So what’s my point? Not to say I’m working toward being the all time best, most famoustest photographer you’ve ever seen. Just to say that I’ll keep working to get better, because I think everyone with a calling- especially a creative one- owes that effort to themselves, to the world, and most of all, to their creator.
Even more important than that, fellow creatives, I’m saying you need to be FOCUSED.
This means not being discouraged if you’re starting out and you think you’re really kind of sucky. Maybe you are right now. But do you think you’re being called to do this? Do you think you have the eye for [photography/writing/graphic design/music/flower arrangement]? then KEEP AT IT.
This also means not letting pride get the better of you. Did some friends tell you you’re awesome? That’s a great encouragement. But don’t let it tell you ‘so you don’t have a need to get any better!’ The only way to be really good at what you do is to keep doing it, no matter what, as often as you can, and to always be learning how to master your technique a little more. 
I’ll leave you with a quote from ‘the War of Art’, the book I’m drawing on for this little pep-talk series: 

‘This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabes don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us… when we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.’  

-Steven Pressfield

Real artists ship. 
 

Bailey is 18 today!

    Today is Bailey’s 18th birthday… so we’re posting these pics from her senior session last week to celebrate. I really enjoyed driving out to Altamont KS, as Bailey & her mom Christine had picked some beautiful settings around that area for the shoot. 

    We’ll start off with a  reminder that the best ‘prop’ is sometimes the last one you’d think to use. We weren’t able to do pictures on the football field like we’d originally planned, due to a game going on that evening. We spotted this tackle dummy [you sports buffs, please tell me what this thing is called if that’s NOT what it’s called] and I HAD to incorporate it in a shot or two…

any photographer lives for sunsets like this one! the tone of the sky even compliments her prom dress perfectly…

after we finished the ‘pretty’ pictures, Bailey wanted a few featuring one of her favorite pastimes, fishing. (her best friend bought her the pole). Of course, she still looked gorgeous even with the more tomboy theme! 

baby Finley

     My good friends the Bellegardes just made an addition to their little family…mr Finley. I had so much fun with our last session that I was even more pumped about this one. Speaking of pumped… or pumping…. we’ll open with this awesome fist pump. 

alright, here’s something a little more serious. 

proud big sister Jalyn!

she was being so cute, I had to give Jalyn her own shot…