The other evening we tried a new type of shoot; powder with low-lying back lights.
It was difficult to get the hang of things at first but most definitely was a learning process that showed results the further we got into it.
Jax, her two daughters, Brittany, and I, set up our stall in the back yard of Jax’s house and as soon as the darkness was enough to work with, we began to shoot.
We hadn’t done anything like this before so my camera and light settings were all over the place. But my partners-in-crime are true experimenters at heart so no-one was judgmental and patience ruled the night.
Which is just as well, because what started as a shoot with two impeccably dressed young ladies in beautiful make-up, descended into a free-for-all with pale-faced, hair-tossed, Raggedy Anns, whose attire looked like they belonged in a post-apocalyptic movie.
Not everyone I work with is comfortable with losing their glamour and composure to that degree in the pursuit of an experimental shot or two, so I truly appreciate the dedication I was gifted.
Hope you like this little collection of shots from the evening. We will be doing it all again over the next few weeks armed with a different lighting set-up and (hopefully) more knowledge of what we are doing.
The subsequent thought that led to this blog was basically an extraction of the supportive commitment that I received from Jax and Brittany. It takes a certain degree of faith and belief, soaked in a strong resin of commitment to follow a crazy old man on a half-brained idea.
But when they became aware of the mess they were about to get into, it also displayed a lovely quality where you accept that the collective good is more important than your own well-being.
Now, in this instance, getting destroyed in powder was only a momentary result that would wash away with a good shower or two.
But in other instances where people commit themselves to the collective good, the effects can be life-altering or even life-ending.
For example I watched a documentary on Amazon the other evening of the one-child policy that played out for decades in China. It is a much-maligned policy with some horrible stories attached to it. But the people that actively took part in it, sacrificed themselves on a level that ended up taking a country out of imminent starvation and put it on the map as one of the greatest economies in the world.
And what about the commitment shown in Alfred Tennyson’s The Charge of Light Brigade, when 600 brave men charged to almost certain doom without questioning their own individual likelihood of survival … only the possibility of a grand victory in the Crimean War. As he wrote “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die”.
History is littered with sacrifice and on a grand level it is often written about. People are awarded medals, win acclaim and recognition and it is often the headlines of noteworthy stories.
But what about the silent sacrifices that are happening all around us?
These are the ones that really intrigue me and leave me aglow in admiration.
When people follow a vocation, for example … priests, teachers, artists, poets. People who put the calling and their understanding that it leads to the greater good, ahead of their own financial needs.
We rarely give them medals. We rarely acknowledge them beyond a token word or two here and there. And yet they devote a lifetime to it.
And what of our friends. True friends. Friends that put our interests ahead of their own?
If we are lucky, we have a smattering of them in our life. And if we do, then our lives are better for having them there.
Putting others ahead of your own wants or needs is an admirable quality that we should all try to acquire over the course of our lives. Because as wonderful as it is to be on the receiving end of such commitment, it is even more wonderful to be the giver.
It reconciles within our souls a key purpose for living. Creates value in our lives far beyond the direct cost of whatever we have given up along the way.
And if on our deathbeds we can look back on a purposeful life, then what greater gift could we ever give ourselves?
Have a wonderful weekend!