It’s probably bad business to say this, but one of my subjects has always been more beautiful than all the rest. She without a doubt stands alone as not only my favorite, but my most photographed subject. She never sighs or rolls her eyes when I reach for my camera. She’s always ready to shoot. She never gives me a stiff smile or uneasy face. She’s not afraid of the camera or how it will make her look. She is, by definition, a natural. She, quite literally, grew up with my lens in her face.
I’m talking about my niece, Grace. She is so special to me and to my family. She was an unexpected little baby as many of us are. But I think what many people don’t understand is that just because a baby is unexpected, doesn’t mean they aren’t needed. I know Grace is exactly what our family needed. And yes, she is perfectly named. Looking at what she adds to our lives now, I can’t imagine how sad we all might be without her. Especially after my grandparents and my brother passed away all within three years. Those were some hard hits. But there was a beautiful little girl giving her unconditional love, keeping us laughing, keeping us smiling. Giving us reasons.
I’ve been photographing her since she was born. The thing that is really cool about me getting to document her life through photography is the fact that my photography journey actually started the year she was born. If I ever wonder how long I’ve been shooting or loving photos I just have to look at Grace and think, that long. Which, as of right now? Nine years. I can’t believe it! It all started with that first roll of film below, where Grace is a little baby. Those first two photos are even more special since my grandmother passed away last year. All the way down to the birthday photos, the first at three years old and the second at seven, I will continue to take her picture for as long as I can. Who knows, maybe there’s a book in my future. Here is a small piece of her beautiful little life so far, captured by yours truly. I’m so thankful Jesus is letting me be a part of hers.