It wasn’t even 20 minutes into his platform talk and I was already tearing up. I’m sure the woman next to me would have thought I was crazy, if she hadn’t been sitting there reaching for a tissue in her purse as well. I should have known better, after hearing Jesh de Rox speak last year at WPPI I should have known that tissues would be necessary. When I was planning my schedule of classes for this year I was so thankful to read that he was giving another platform talk and knew I had to introduce myself this year. After hearing him speak the first time, I remember walking around the rest of the week regretting not introducing myself and telling him what an incredible message he shared. This year I made a point to stay after his talk (along with PLENTY of other people) and introduce myself.
I stood there and watched him greet each one and when it was my turn I introduced myself, he hugged me, and words started pouring out of my mouth. I remember feeling like I just babbled on and on, but he looked me in the eyes and heard every world I said. By the time I stopped to take a breath he had tears in his eyes, reached out to hug me again, and asked me to email him everything I just said. I promised to do so, and yet haven’t been able to put it all in to (clearer) words until now. Here’s the email I sent him yesterday afternoon:
I had the privilege to hear you speak again this year at WPPI a few weeks ago, but this year couldn’t contain myself and had to introduce myself to you afterwards and tell you how much of an impact your words had on me and everyone else in that room. You asked me to email you with everything I said, so here I am to say hello again, and I’ll try to remember what came pouring out of my mouth.
I don’t think you will ever fully understand the magnitude and implications of this movement you’ve shared with us. Every single person that sat in that room and listened to your voice walked away changed for the better. What you teach is so much more than an approach to photography, its a way of life. A way of life that allows you to appreciate more, give freely, and love deeper. Regardless of our clients, you asked us to think of the people in our lives that we cherish the most and see them.. to really see them, and to appreciate every moment we have with them. It can be so easy to just go through the same motions every day, so thank you for making us all stop and think. Listening to you talk I couldn’t help but look around the room and think of how many husbands were thinking of their wives in that moment and vice versa, and how leaving that room their marriage would look different. You talk about the amount of money that is spend on failed relationships each year, well the people in that room are not going to be the ones contributing to it! I feel completely confident in saying that a countless number of relationships were renewed and restored just in those two hours. You will never know the full impact you’re making. Never.
On a more personal level, you have helped me pull out and definite exactly what it is I love about this “job” I get to do every day. I am allowed into the most precious moments in peoples lives, something I never want to take for granted, and I am given the privilege of documenting it. Crazy, huh?! I get to build relationships with some of the most amazing people, and they willingly get in front of my camera and trust that I will document THEM. Not just how they look or specific poses, but their relationship. Their personalities. Them. I think (well, I hope) thats how a lot of other photographers feel, so thank you for putting a name to it and showing us how to help our clients feel free and gorgeous in front of the camera, a place that can be so intimidating! It has to start with us though in our personal lives before we can communicate it to our clients, and thats what you accomplished in those two hours. Meeting us where we are and finding a way to instantly connect with each of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this vision with the rest of the world and for encouraging us to run with it as well.
My prayer for this email is that it blesses and encourages you to keep doing what your doing; loving people. I could tell you were truly thankful for each person that came up and said hello to you after your platform talk. You can tell the unapproachable photographers that say hello to everyone that stays after really quick so they can get on with their day, and others that take time to hug each one and look them in the eyes. People notice the difference, so thank you for being one of the most approachable people I’ve met. I could not be more excited to learn from you and get to know you better at your workshop in Washington DC this August! It can’t come soon enough :0)
You are such a breath of fresh air in this industry. Thanks for encouraging me to love better :0)
So many blessings,
If you haven’t already, make sure you visit Jesh’s website. It is one of my favorite places to go when I need a quiet moment to myself :0) Also if you’re a photographer in the area, you should most definitely considering joining me at his workshop in DC August 9-11th! You can find out more info HERE.
Happy Friday :0)
Aww, Jessie. Can I just say that you do the same? You’re such an inspiration and such a blessing – and I don’t even know you that well! But the pieces of you that are here on the blog, in the photos you take, they’re just wonderful and it makes us feel lucky – even those of us who don’t know the *whole* you. It’s easy to see that you have sooo much love – for life, for what you do, for those people who share their priceless moments with you. It’s amazing, and refreshing, and touches my heart. You’re changing lives, too, and showing us parts of ourselves we may never have known were there without you.