Miss Kayla Evarts

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In nearly a decade of marriage, I had never met my brother-in-law nor his daughters, my nieces. Over the Christmas holiday, I finally got to meet them all. Now, I might not have gotten to have spent as much time getting to know them all as I did were it not for the fact that my brother-in-law became jealous of my other brother-in-law’s Christmas photos from last year which I shot. A conversation ensued, a call was made, I cleared my morning, and we had a regular family reunion with my wife, her two brothers, and their families. For them, it was all about catching up. For me, it was all about recording some new memories of being together for them.

This is the photo of my niece, Kayla.

Christmas Story

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I’m a photographer.

There’s this little town called Niangua. It’s in Missouri.

There’s this auction house. It’s called Asher’s.

Asher’s set up a Christmas Shop so that all the kids in Niangua could buy Christmas presents for their loved ones. Lots of neat stuff was sold and nothing cost more than a quarter. Over 100 kids bought gifts for their families.

Santa Claus was also at the shop.

All the kids got to visit Santa after they shopped and they got to tell him all about their Christmas wishes and give him a great big hug.

There was a little girl named Tori.

Tori was very sick. She was so sick that she almost didn’t make it to the Christmas Shop. This had made Tori very sad as her sickness caused her to miss the little Niangua Christmas parade earlier that same day.

But, Tori was determined to get her family some gifts and to meet Santa Claus and tell him her most special wish (to receive a Christmas Barbie for Christmas this year). Tori mustered up all of her strength and her parents got her to the shop where she bought them gifts and she met with Santa and gave him a great big hug (causing old Santa to shed more than a few tears).

I’m a photographer.

I got to tell the story.

Mrs. Lacey Watkins

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This is Lacey Watkins. She is our neighbor. She is married and she and her husband, Josh, have an active four-year old son named Nate.

I like that Lacey always makes it a point to have herself “put together” – a rare quality in women these days. Now, it’s not a whole Donna Reed dress and heels affair with Lacey, but she is always neat (and keeps Josh and Nate equally neat) and I’ve never seen her without the most basic of makeup. It pretty much goes without saying that I’ve been eager to have a chance at photographing her at some point. When she asked me to please photograph her family, I began planning this shot and saved it for the very end of the session when we got together for the photos this past weekend.

As you can see, this image of Lacey looks amazing and it was a real honor and privilege to be not only allowed, but actually asked to make all of the images of Lacey and her family.

[As I make the transition from whatever the heck I once was to whatever it is I’m becoming next, I’ve been working on my photography a bit more seriously.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a ‘photographer’ in any serious sense of the word. I can handle a camera and get an image out of it. I then spend a good amount of time in Lightroom and Photoshop “massaging” (and sometimes literally “beating”) my images into something worth seeing. I don’t look down on my own work because of this process, though. I look down on my work because I want to be so much better at it.]

Willow

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I met Willow at an event at one of the local churches here in Marshfield, MO. I was taken by her bright personality, easy smile, and general beauty. I shot a couple of candid shots of her and liked what I got so I asked her to pose for me. About a month later we went to a local park with a lovely wooded area and produced a set of photos for her.

This is our mutual favorite photo of the session. Conceived as just something “artistic” to do, it was never actually intended to figure in the proper session, but once I was done with post-processing it was obvious that there was a great image here.

Marshfield Cherry Blossom Festival Vendor

She was selling handmade jewelry and I never even got her name. She only had a few items for sale. A bad operation on her leg led to an amputation.

Complications from the amputation led to a second amputation farther up. The whole situation had forced her to stop working on her crafts. Finally, tired of sitting around the house, she made her husband take her out to sell the few pieces she’d made at the festival.

She told me that she was grateful for the amputation. She said that it wasn’t going to stop her from anything, but that it had helped to slow her down. Then she asked me if I “went to church” and told me that she believed it was God’s way of drawing her closer to him. I loved her attitude and her faith. In a few moments of simply listening, I came to love her.

Veteran Of The Psychic Wars

You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars
I’ve been living on the edge so long, where the winds of limbo roar
And I’m young enough to look at, and far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I’m not sure that there’s anything left of me

Don’t let these shakes go on, it’s time we had a break from it
It’s time we had some leave
We’ve been living in the flames
We’ve been eating up our brains
Oh please, don’t let these shakes go on.

You ask me why I’m weary, why I can’t speak to you
You blame me for my silence, say it’s time I changed and grew
But the war’s still going on, dear, and there’s nowhen that I know
And I can’t stand forever
I can’t say if we’re ever gonna be free

Don’t let these shakes go on, it’s time we had a break from it
It’s time we had some leave
We’ve been living in the flames
We’ve been eating up our brains
Oh please, don’t let these shakes go on.

You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars
My energy is spent at last, and my armor is destroyed
I have used up all my weapons, and I’m helpless and bereaved
Wounds are all I’m made of
Did I hear you say that this is victory?

Don’t let these shakes go on, it’s time we had a break from it
Send me to the rear
Where the tides of madness swell
And men sliding into hell
Oh please, don’t let these shakes go on.

-Blue Oyster Cult

Christmas

This little boy is a neighbor of ours. He’s about 7 years old and lives in an old barn/warehouse that doubles a a sort of make-shift auction house. He’s a happy kid who likes to ride his bike with the other kids here in our neighborhood and who loves helping others out whenever he can. In fact, he was helping me with a photo shoot when I managed to snap this photo of him under the pretense of needing a test subject to help me get the photo set up right. He tells me that his jacket is the only one he’s really had since “the first time [he] was in the first grade.” Continue reading

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