|Train And Signal - Tehachapi, California|
This last Thursday I received a phone call from a local police officer. I was a little surprised, and at first I thought perhaps there had been some trespassing complaint (I do, from time-to-time, venture onto private property in pursuit of a great photograph). But that's not what he had called about. Actually, he needed my help--my photographic help.
Deep down I want my photographs to be purposeful and meaningful. I want my photographs to have a positive influence on the world. These are general terms and it can be very difficult to know what any of this even means or how to accomplish it. How can my photographs make a difference? How can I use my skill to help others? How can I change the world with my photographs?
All of this sounds unattainable. It sounds perhaps like wishful thinking. But, here and there, opportunities present themselves that allow my photography to make a difference to others.
The first such opportunity came a couple years ago. I had created a photograph while vacationing in San Diego. It almost seemed like I was supposed to make this photograph--like it was destiny. I printed the image large on aluminum and it hung in a local art gallery for several months. But then the gallery closed. The photograph briefly hung in another gallery, but I felt like there was a better home for it. I felt like it was better to give away the photograph than to try to sell it.
The photograph, Faith In The Sand, was donated to a local church. That church does a great deal of good for the local community. It hangs on one of their walls, and it is seen pretty much daily.
|Faith In The Sand - San Diego, California|
Now to that phone call this last Thursday. There's a local family who owns a small business--a donut shop--and they recently had a fire in their kitchen. The place has been closed since the fire, and the primary source of income for the family is gone. The insurance hasn't come through for them yet.
The police officer was aware of all this. The business owner does a lot of charitable good deeds for the community. The officer wanted to give back. He was afraid that the business owner's two young daughters might not have a Christmas this year.
|Rolling Dough - Tehachapi, California|
In both of the examples mentioned, I could have earned money. I could have kept Faith In The Sand in the art gallery until it sold. I could have charged the police officer money for non-exclusive rights to my photographs. But some things are worth more than money. 'Tis the season for giving.
I'm not telling you this to brag. I'm humbled by these experiences. I'm honored to know that my photographs are making a real difference in the world, inspiring hope and inspiring generosity. That's exactly what I want from my photography.
Christmas is not about getting. It's not about gifts received. It's not even about giving to those who don't need. Christmas is about giving to those who need to receive a gift. It is about giving to those who don't have, helping those who need help.
That's the reason for the season.