GETTING LOST IN THEIR WORLD
I'm not quite sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became surrounded by little people who call me "Mr. Mike" all the time. You see, I've also been a piano teacher for many years now, and when I'm not out photographing children and teens, often enough I've been trapped in some confined space with them trying to claw my way out and survive the torture of music lessons and save my sanity and...wait...just kidding! :)
As you can likely tell, I enjoy being silly and trying to inspire fun in the midst of forward progress. In fact, kneeling down to their perspective and being sillier than they are is my secret sauce for working with youth if I've ever had any.
I have found myself in countless conversations with these young humans about life. I've heard their silly stories, their ways of processing information, seen them on their good days and bad, and have walked through life as a constant companion week after week. I've glimpsed how the world looks through their eyes. And, besides their parents, I've realized I am likely one of the rare few adults who gets such dedicated one-on-one time with them on such a consistent basis. It's been a humbling responsibility, and a lot of fun!
Within this space, I've noticed how each one of them has a developing story. They all have growing dreams, gifts, hobbies, hopes, and desires of many kinds. They have sacred spaces and secret hideaways they use to help fuel these journeys, and faithful friends that keep them company along the way:
It's those places they go to lose themselves, and find themselves, and come into their own. It's where they slowly uncover and explore that unique energy that helps define who they are at their core, and who they are becoming...
Could all of this be properly captured and celebrated before they grow up too fast and move on to more "responsible" pursuits? I'd like to think so! This is what first got me started with portrait photography, and I'm happy to continue the cause.
And all in all, when everything is said and done, it is my sincere hope that these pictures will help inspire them with extra courage and self-worth, and that one day they, their children, and grandchildren will be able to look back on these special portraits in awe and say:
"This. This is the magic and power of my family. This is my history, my heritage. This is where I come from."