When is a photo more than a photo?

It was 10 am on a September day in 2010.

I remember what I was wearing—and since it was 10 am I hadn’t had a Java Chip Frappuccino yet.

I was in a meeting.  The meeting went from bad to worse in a matter of minutes that seemed to have lasted a lifetime.

I left the meeting.  I went to Starbucks and had my Java Chip Frappuccino. If I remember correctly, Aaron the barista handed me the drink.

On principle alone I went to the gym that night.  I was on a cardio workout routine and I refused to skip the gym just because I had a very bad meeting.  I think I managed 45 minutes on the treadmill instead of my usual hour.

Fast forward to Sunday, September 30, 2012.  I think it was mid-morning.  I hadn’t had a Java Chip Frappuccino yet.

I was dressed for an important ‘presentation’ that I had been preparing for— for about a month—or perhaps since 10 am on that September day in 2010.

I put every ounce of emotion I had from that day in 2010 into my presentation.  All the frustration, hurt and anger went into my presentation—along with rabid grit and determination to accomplish my goal.  My goal was simple.  No matter what happened I would take pride in knowing I put everything into that presentation.

The presentation ended.

I knew there’d be applause but I hadn’t really imagined what it would feel like.  Unprepared for a bow or curtsy I decided to do the obvious.  I extended my arms out— similar to one of my favorite scenes from The Gladiator.  If you know the movie, then you can picture the scene with the following words, spoken by Maximus:  “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?”  I wasn’t directing those thoughts to anyone in the crowd.

Big Bertha's Adventures

I was making a silent but visual statement to the individuals from that meeting in 2010.  The battle ended on that day.  I declared my victory.

Exhausted I walked off the stage to a crowd of friends— among them my friend, Robyn Baird and her baby plus countless other friends I had met only recently.  They all shared in my exhibition on that stage.

I cannot take credit for this photo.  My friend, Kristin Mastin Briley had the foresight to take photos during my presentation.  It is my favorite photo.  It captures everything I needed.

Remember, when you are taking someone’s photo it may not be just a photo to that person.  You may never know the journey the person went through to get to that very moment.  And it doesn’t matter if you ever know their journey.  It is their journey and their decision to share.  The point is—take those photos!  You are capturing memories, moments in time that are happy, sad, exhilarating, victorious and to coin a word, gladiatoresque.  And now it seems only fitting, I end with another quote from The Gladiator, “Strength and Honor.”
Camera:  Big Bertha (Canon EOS 5D Mark II)
Date:  September 2012

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