I get to hear a lot of stories from people about their lives either when we are just hanging out or especially while we are taking photos. One thing I like to offer people is a very comfortable space to be who they are. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much of themselves they hide from themselves.
When I take photos of someone it isn’t about just what they look like, I want to know who they are and what they are thinking. Being a combination between a reverend and a portrait photographer is pretty awesome. Both require a level of trust and honesty. It is very easy to make someone uncomfortable when they are exposing their soul and often times their body to me. This is why I fully believe in respect.
To gain respect and trust you must give respect and trust. I remember talking to a good friend of mine one night. Out of nowhere she started opening up to me about her life. Things I could have guessed and some that I never would have. She told me things that I don’t think she had ever even admitted to herself. It was a night where I just needed to be there for her and listen to what she had to say. I don’t know if any of you have had a friend open up like this to you, but you need to know how incredible it is for someone to have that much trust in you. I’ve never told anyone else what she told me that night and she and I have never talked about it since. She got it off her chest and I was there to help.
There are many points in my life where I probably haven’t done the selfless thing or haven’t been there in the right way for some people. Shit happens and we screw up as people sometimes. None of us are perfect. But as I get older I realize how much I like being the person who can listen. I like being the person whom others can trust. It takes a lot of work and not everyone will open up, and that is fine. My goal isn’t to know everyone’s secrets, seriously I don’t want to know all of them! I just want to be genuine. I want to be honest and I want to be sincere.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. When someone is telling you something and you swear you know the answer in your head the urge to blurt it out is almost unbearable. But sometimes people know the answer, they just need to talk it through without judgement. None of us have all of the answers. Some of us have some of the answers. But all of us do have questions and all of us need someone to talk to.
The best thing you can do sometimes is just simply listen. They will work out their own problems and find their own answers. Sometimes you have to make a few mistakes to get the right answer. It is okay. If we want trust we have to be trustworthy. It really comes down to us to figure out how much we really want to be there for others. I still make mistakes, but at least I’m making them less and less.
Life is a journey of discovery, it is full of new adventures every day. Sometimes I never know what to expect when someone walks through my door and wants to chat, smoke, drink, hang out, take photos or any mixture of the above. All I can do is welcome them with open arms and an open heart. For this is when the magic happens and we get to share a brief moment in time together as friends. This is when you take things to another level, this is where I like to be as often as possible.