While working with high school seniors on their senior portraits, I always enjoy talking with them about their lives: how their senior year is going, what hobbies and sports they are into, what they plan to do after graduating. Working with youth is something I’ve always enjoyed (check out my series Welcome to Wonderland if you don’t believe me), and I find building a rapport comes naturally.
I’ve known Helena for several years, from church, and have always enjoyed chatting with her about soccer and travel. But I was surprised when I got the call to schedule her senior portraits. “She’s a senior already?” I asked. Indeed she is, so we scheduled a date to photograph at Cathedral Park.
I arrived at Cathedral Park early, to scout locations. Walking around in the sunshine, under the graceful St Johns Bridge, amongst the beautiful trees, I thought to myself, “Welcome to my office, my studio. I am so privileged….”
It was a beautiful day for portraits, and we did beautiful work. But what I almost enjoyed most was Helena’s enthusiasm. When I asked her about what she was going to do after graduating, she said, “Oh, I can’t wait! I’m going to South Africa to work in an orphanage for 6-8 months! I’m so excited.”
Her enthusiasm is contagious, and I’m excited for her. We talked about Africa, and orphanages. I documented the opening of an orphanage in Kenya several years ago, and have numerous friends who have left their lives in America and England to work at the Open Arms Village in Eldoret, Kenya. So I know about both the hard work and the rewards of serving in such a situation.
Hats off to Helena, and to a bright and rewarding future!