Serendipity

Serendipity

A Connection Unexpected.

Serendipity can make a time of life when everything feels wrong, make sense. I call serendipitous things God Things, though I’ll admit my faith has been tested of late, so I feel a little hypocritical saying that at the moment.

I haven’t been shooting too much lately. I’ve been learning all about the business side of photography, which is good. I’ve also been navigating a very scary and unexpected health change in my daughter, which is not good. But I was glad Camas Life Magazine asked me to photograph Saturday’s Camas Days Grand Parade, because I knew it would inject some normalcy into my spirit.

Just before parade start, I spied a stylin’ couple standing just where I wanted to shoot. Perfect. The rain started, and they opened an umbrella. Score! And then I noticed the Hayao Miyazaki tattoes on her calves. Totoro, no less. We’re major Miyazaki fans in this house. I knew this would be my favorite shot of the day.

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I knew when I shot it that this was my favorite photograph of the day.

I put my worry for my daughter on hold, and really enjoyed shooting the parade, but by its end I was ready to return with my son to our girl, home with a traumatic brain injury (because “concussion” just doesn’t do it justice). As I was leaving, I ran into that couple again, and decided to introduce myself and ask permission to distribute what I knew would be a photo I loved. Turns out they were at the parade with Peter Khalil, candidate for Congress, who very politely asked me to shoot a portrait. At first, what Peter got was the mental car crash that occurred when my urgency to return to my daughter met up with his request, which emerged as all my worry over her, shared sputteringly, with this complete stranger – definitely not my usual MO while I’m working.

I don’t know one thing about Peter Khalil’s politics, but I will tell you that if you ever need to appeal to a person in power for help, you want someone to listen with his depth of compassion. He was so kind, and so humble, and so backed off immediately from his request. So of course I brought him to a better background and shot the portrait.

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Peter Khalil, candidate for Congress and one heck of an empathetic guy.

Here’s the serendipity.

But this was the really cool thing. The Miyazaki-tattoed woman with the flaming hair is named Lyann. Lyann shared that she, too, had a concussion that deeply affected her life. I have found precious few people who truly understand how our lives have been turned upside down by this. Lyann got it. And now I know two people who can illuminate what has taken over my vibrant, crazy active daughter’s life and … turned it off, basically. Put it on indefinite hold. These two people I know – one just met Saturday, remember – are the reason I have a clue what is going on, and that’s not for lack of seeking professional help for her. After all our little family has been through, to find that, right now, is like finding gold.

Portrait Photography Connection

Portrait Photography Connection

Connection – an Origin.

I’ve been thinking a bit about who I am lately. What’s made me who I am, and … who exactly is that? Three traits keep floating to the top of my mind: I’ve always sought a man to partner with; I’ve always sought Jesus; and – as a local portrait photographer in Camas and Washougal, Washington, and as a person – I’ve always sought connection.

Connection Found … and Lost … and Found Again

Well. That first trait yielded a number of frustrated years spent “waiting to become,” at first; then, two amazing kids, an angel who is pretty much on point, and lots of kids’ books in our home that don’t focus on building one’s life around a princess-rescue myth (change is good).

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Jesus has shown Himself real in my life; seeking paid off well in that department, so that trait holds strong. Lately it’s the connection bit, especially in our cellphone-absorbed society that says it wants to connect, while burying its nose in anything but, that has me thinking. 

Portrait of Bonds Unrealized

I grew up in Bellevue, Washington, strangely unaware of its wealth, but very aware of the societal value of stuff over connection. I was an empath in a not-very-empathetic world. 

My family went to the zoo fairly often. You might think this would be a good thing, but in the mid 1970s, zoos were much more … cage-y than they are now. It was hard for me to imagine life inside those cages as joyous, and I wanted to connect with those lives. I didn’t want to see them on show, performing, looking happy – I wanted to see who they really were. Family zoo trips were contemplative, for me. 

Storytelling in One Frame

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One of the first portraits I ever shot, artsy bokeh and all.

I just recently unearthed this, one of my very first portraits, shot with a Kodak Ektra on 100-speed film. I’d forgotten that the photography style I’d grow to love showed up in anything I’d shot before my 20s; I was maybe 8 when I shot this. But I never, ever forgot this face. 

Importance of Kinship

Connection makes life bearable, even beautiful, when life is not easy, which frequently it is not. One of my great joys in life is fostering connection, especially with my children. 

My other great joy in life is photographing it.

Charity Feb is a wedding, family and business photographer focusing on storytelling and connection in and around Camas and Washougal, Washington. She is sure her childhood zoo is a much less “cage-y” place now, as is her current local zoo, where her family’s favorite exhibit can be found here: https://www.oregonzoo.org/discover/exhibits/eagle-canyon

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