I am a storyteller

Today, I came across a box of photos from 1996-1997, which I haven’t opened in some time. These were important years in my photographic journey as it was during these years that I fell in love with black and white photography. My Canon AE-1 camera was by my side just about everywhere I went; I learned to take photos from different perspectives; I often stayed up through the night until sunrise, just so I could process my film and print my own photos in my darkroom (where time passed by so quickly, that I didn’t trust that the time on my watch was accurate). I was in love with the whole process.

So today, forgetting about all of the tasks I had planned to accomplish, I simply sat down, pulled photos out one by one, smiled, and enjoyed myself.

Then, when I saw these photos of my dad, I stopped.

Jean_H_de_Buren_dad_-9919I stopped, in part, because I vividly remembered taking these photos of my dad, and how much I enjoyed following him around as he performed some of his training routines (as a decathlete). I remember taking photos of my dad setting his timer on his wristwatch, before getting ready to run at the track; I photographed him resting in between sets, with his hands on the weightlifting bar in the garage;  I photographed him sitting on the bleachers at the track, looking out, reflecting on his last performance, and preparing for the next.

But, the other reason I stopped is because I was surprised to recognize and discover my current photographic style in the photos I captured 17 years ago. I saw storytelling, through capturing the details.

I was surprised to make this connection and discovery, because, since I stopped working as a portrait photographer, I have been unable to explain my photographic style to anyone, including myself. These photos of my dad pulled everything together for me.

I  know that I love capturing events unfolding in front of me; I love capturing everyday moments; I love capturing the details, which often go unnoticed by those around me; I love capturing connections between people; I cannot get enough of photographing beautiful light; I love pulling images together, to tell a story.

I may not have been able to say it until now, but in my heart, I know that am a storyteller.

The Cemetery

Recently, a friend and I decided to get together, visit a new destination, and take photos. When she suggested that we visit a local cemetery, I was completely open to the idea, but found myself wondering how I should go about capturing images in a such a place.

When we arrived, I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed; I wondered how to properly show respect while taking photos in a cemetery. I needed to get comfortable, especially since I was so focused on figuring out how I should take photos.

I get comfortable by starting small and focusing on details.


I needed to walk around, quietly observe, and to get away from focusing on should so that I could find both a connection to the cemetery and my voice. So, I explored.


Then, it happened; I found light, my constant companion on my photographic journey, and my voice became clear.


As fond memories of my grandparents came to my mind, I found a needed connection with the cemetery. I began to see stories all around me; stories that, I imagine, have been here, waiting to be discovered and shared.


I was no longer thinking about how I should be taking photos; I just did what came naturally. I found a way to capture the story and the respect that pressed so heavily on me when we first arrived at the cemetery.


This photo outing proved to be a much more challenging experience than I anticipated, both personally and photographically; I am thankful for the experience!