Last summer I was asked if I would like to be a featured artist at a friend's art gallery in Marietta. My almost immediate response was, "Yes! That sounds exciting!" Those of you that know me know that I have a tendency to jump enthusiastically into the water with both feet and then I ask, "Um,...but where are we going and how do we get there? And what do you mean I have to swim the whole way?" It sounded like an amazing opportunity but once I'd committed to it I wondered, "Ok, but I'm a portrait photographer. What am I supposed to put in an art exhibit?!"
My wheels got turning and I thought of the question I've been asking my Class of 2019 senior clients before their senior portrait session: Who has been a major positive influence in your life over the last few years?" This question has served a two-fold purpose for me:
1. It helps me get to know them a little better. What makes them tick?
2. I wanted to try and get a picture of each student with their influential person.
It got me thinking about the word "influencer". The buzzword "influencers" is heard a lot in marketing and on social media. Typically the term refers to someone with a large social media following. But are these people really influencing us personally? My answer is No. Our true influencers are most often people we know personally. People who have made a positive impact on us in one way or another. So I asked this question to anyone that said they might like to participate in this special project with me. The answers were varied and revealing and have personally impacted my life.
Some people answered that a parent or a child was their positive influence. For others it was a friend or a spouse. And still others answered it was someone who had written a book or had organized or was in charge of a group they are involved in socially or professionally.
This show is made up of portraits of people with their influencer(s).
I hope you can come and see what I've been up to these last couple months and read their stories and I hope it impacts you in the same way it has impacted me.