Friday, August 01, 2008

Pain & Practice, Not Perfect

PWP2 | Monday Course Update Template:

Hello. My name is [first name], and I am a student at Prizewinning Photography 2, Course [course number] in [city name]. Today was our first day of class. After a good breakfast, [instructor's name] taught on [session topic], then we practiced [verb]. Then [instructor's name] taught on [session topic], and we did a speed shoot. We had 30 minutes to shoot, edit, and turn in one image that described the concept [concept name]. After lunch, [instructor's name] spoke on [topic], and then we had [number
] shooting assignments to fulfill, using [camera tools] and [objects]. It was a lot of fun! After the shoot, we came back to our classroom and [verb] our images, then we did review and critique. After dinner we went worked on [project name] until bedtime. It was a productive day, and I learned a lot.

[full name]

Unfortunately, IPS course updates don't fit in templates. Neither does allowing God to impact lives, interacting with people around me, or changing the world. Some things are harder than they appear at first glance, and a week spent in DC definitely taught me that.

IPS's PWP 2 teaches fundamentals in posing, lighting, editing, and workflow for both portraits and still life images. We discussed topics starting with Digital Asset Manag
ement (how to organize your images and digital files) to Using and Directing Light (where you want the light to go, and how to get it to go there), and ending with Photoshop Layers and Masks, and Portrait Posing. And, of course, we spent plenty of time putting our new skills to practice.

We set up still life shots. We conducted full portrait sittings. We designed personal studio cards. We met with "clients" for proofing sessions. We went on speed shoots. We roamed the streets of Washington, DC. We greased our squeaky creative wheels and got them moving in Photoshop. We retouched portraits. We practiced... lots.

But PWP2 taught me more than how to Photoshop away wrinkles and how to take great senior portraits. It taught me that just as IPS can't be written into a simple template, neither does my life.

I learned that I can't expect God to fit my preconceived notions. I learned that when God owns my heart, He claims the right to turn it in whatever direction He chooses to, even if it hurts, or it's outside of my comfort zone. I learned that as I pursue God wholeheartedly, He gives me eyes to see people as He sees them

And I saw them. It was as if shades were removed from my eyes. I felt that I saw everyone, saw through to their hurt. And I felt their hurt, too, and hurt for them.

I hurt for Keith, the homeless carpenter who has despaired of life, whose only care in life is to obtain food. He has seven siblings, but hasn't spoken to any of them for years—doesn't even know where his family is He was a house framer before he threw out his back and turned to alcohol to ease the pain in his life. He told me was ready to throw himself in front of a bus, because he was worthless and life was empty to him.

I hurt for the 20-ish man sitting on a bench on the side of the street with his head in his hands, iPod in hand and earbuds in his ears, and tears streaming down his face. He sat there for at least ten minutes, completely consumed in his grief, oblivious of the fact that dozens of people walked by.

I hurt for the woman with scars completely covering her arms— a self-inflicted attempt to relieve inner turmoil.

I hurt for the hundreds of businessmen with blank eyes, stressed faces, and hasty steps that passed me every day.

I hurt for the many, many women who, in a desperate attempt for love and pursuit, dishonor their bodies in the way they dress, whether for work during the day, or for the club at night.

I hurt for the people who feel that their families are falling apart from the inside out, and there is nothing they can do to stop it.

I hurt for those whose pain was so great that they forgot that God is greater.

I felt the pain. I heard the tears fall.


I also learned that God is always good. I learned that things are not as they appear. I learned about the beauty of life callings walked out in a community of purposeful believers. I learned not to shut my heart when God allows me to feel.

I renewed my love of the Gospel of Christ that redeems the pain and sorrow and suffering, turns ashes into something beautiful, and makes all things good.

And I was reminded that God was faithfully triumphant yesterday, and will be just as faithful and just as victorious today and tomorrow.

And, of course, these skills, like photography need a lot of practice, as well.

Click here for photos of the week.


jennifer said...

nice work Sarah, thanks for sharing

AmberDenae said...

Amazing! I loved it- again, you're an incredible writer and photographer. You truly have a beautiful gift.