Clearly, I'm no good at keeping secrets.
Like many other high school seniors, I had my senior portraits taken at one of those big, generic, school portrait powerhouses. Prestige Portraits, maybe? You know the kind- pick three outfits, sit with an overly casual pose next to the block letters of your graduation year, lean with crossed arms against the "graffiti wall," etc. etc. They usually do a decent job, but not much more than that.
They did not live up to the usual mediocre standards when they shot me. In fact, my senior portraits were so bad that I cried upon seeing them. Could it be? Was I really that fantastically ugly? I knew one thing for sure- I couldn't stand the thought of a single one of those images being immortalized in the yearbook. I made my thoughts on that matter abundantly clear to the studio, and went home devastated.
Luckily for me, my mother is a smart lady. She hired a photographer recommended by a colleague to reshoot my senior portraits, so that I would at least have something to give friends and family. The photographer we went to shot in and around her home. She was warm and friendly, and I had a fun time during the shoot. A week or two later, we went back to look at the proofs.
I was thrilled. I loved how I looked in the images. In fact, one of them is still what I consider one of my all-time favorite shots. I felt damn good about myself, and damn good about the photos. They still wouldn't make it into the yearbook, but my grandparents would have something far nicer than a framed ogre sitting on their mantle. That photographer did wonderful things for my self-esteem. I highly doubt she knew how valuable her work was to me, but I'm thankful for it to this day.
I want to be able to do that for others. I want to be able to shoot people and give them images that make them say, "Yowza, I'm hot!" It's an intimidating goal, and I'm nowhere near the skill level to pull it off. But it is a goal I intend on reaching.