We hope you and yours are blessed and encouraged as you read this. If not, my wife has told me countless times how her mom would always tell her "someone's got it worse than you" to keep her from throwing a pity party. I find that wisdom to be particularly applicable when I'm going through a difficult trial. Raising twelve children sure has lent us many ups and downs, but with the Lord's help, we always pull through with a greater determination not to give up. Sometimes, you just have to have the tenacity to hold on to your last ounce of integrity and faith, even when the end of the tunnel looks bleak. If I could count the times it didn't seem like there was any light at the end of my tunnels, surely I wouldn't be able to type these heartfelt words now.
There's a heart-touching song we sing at church sometimes that goes like this..."I don't feel no ways tired. I've come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy, and I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me." (James Cleveland)
I sincerely believe we are at this place in our lives because of our experiences. Someone has coined a very true cliche: "no test, no testimony". We may not be able to share all of our tests, or even all our testimonies, but we can share a portion. I was not raised with the best of the best. I grew up poor and started working at an early age to support my family. My wife comes from a completely different background, but she too grew up struggling, with parents who didn't become U.S. citizens until after she was grown. We both know what it's like to want for more, to feel less than when compared to others who had better. As a result, we desperately wanted to give our children much more than what we had. As life would have it, that dream was not as easy to fulfill. Looking back, we are so grateful for our humble beginnings, for the struggles, the prayers, the battles...because being between a rock and a hard place isn't necessarily all bad when you can look up. Heaven-ward.
Our looking up in our desperate times taught us to look up in gratefulness during the times of plenty. It also taught us to give back to those who are in need. To be a blessing to others. That's why we believe becoming photographers is more of a calling than a job. We enjoy going out on location, or going to family's homes, and even the hospital if need be to capture the legacy of people who want to pass their heirloom on for generations. For those who want their story to live on through pictures, and show the loving bond shared with one another. Our job doesn't seem like a chore to be done just to make ends meet. Our God-given talent to help, encourage and serve is fulfilled through us holding a small piece of equipment that records history in a remarkable way. With just the right conversation, a little time to get to know who you are, and your trust in us - we can be the one's who tell your unique story. We document your season of life, so it can be remembered and treasured. That's why we can't give up.
We didn't quit because we knew, deep down inside, there was a purpose for our lives. You too have a purpose. That purpose must be passed down to your children, grandchildren and so on. Which is why you can't give up. Sure, you know your story now. How well will you be able to tell it 40, 50 or 60 years from now? Who will you leave behind to cherish your memory? Even with this digital age of snapping photos with our phones and posting them to social media, there's more to our stories than that. Our love story belongs on our walls. Weddings, families, newborns, graduating seniors...should all be smiled at when we walk down the hall, go up the stairs or sit around the fireplace.
With so many photographers doing portraits, you may find it hard to determine who to choose. Each one of us as photographers does what suits us best and what works for our business. Since community is more important to me than competition, I don't feel the need to point out faults or place myself on a false pedestal. That's not what this post is about. It's about who we are and why we've chosen to run our business the way we do. Lord knows, we have learned from so many other photographers who have been willing to share their wisdom, failures and successes to help their fellow man. Our experiences led us to place more emphasis on giving you beautiful prints, albums and wall decor that can last generations, than to quickly hand off digital images. It's important to us to see the final product of the work we've put into helping you look your best, feeling comfortable in a relaxed setting, and expressing your love for family in front of our camera. After taking the time to professionally edit your images before sharing them with you, it's a wonderful feeling in the end to see your expressions of joy and heart-warming smiles when you touch a printed portrait, leaf through a fine art album or unwrap a canvas.
That's what sets us apart. That's why we couldn't give up. Our purpose is to connect with you and help you cherish your life story. After all, this is your life. Your love. Your legacy. The heirloom you pass on. If we could go back in time, if we knew and had then what we know and have now, we'd have tons of gorgeous portraits overflowing countless albums, and walls covered from floor to ceiling with loving memories of days gone by. Since we can't, we'll start with you.
We look forward to you sharing your story with us. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your season.
Gary and Angenise