Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Gift of Friendship

New friendships are part of the adventure God gave Daniel and I in moving to Abilene. I want to share with you one of the friends I met through Hannah. As Hannah moved to Tulsa I got to know Lael. As you listen to her words and her own journey of events you will understand what a gift she has been to me!!

From Lael:
I’m currently sitting on a plane, taking the familiar flight from Seattle to Dallas. We just passed a magnificent snow capped mountain beneath the right wing and there’s another, more jagged one, topping off the clouds in the distance. I miss these things like crazy when I settle myself down each semester at Abilene Christian University.

This will be my last flight to Texas as a student, and I’m quite excited by that idea. I’m finishing out my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree with a 2-dimensional concentration and am anxious to see what’s next in life.

I entered into my art major with my technical drawing skills and discerning artistic eye tucked under my arm, never anticipating that I would walk out claiming photography as my niche, assuming the title of “photographer,” and needing to accommodate a collection of cameras in my suitcase.

In this picture (above) you see me standing with three photos at my senior art show, where my featured medium was photography. This series in particular was part of the preparatory process for a multiple exposure project I did with four rolls of film. Before getting started, I tested the idea of shooting through a roll of film, rewinding it almost to the end, reloading it, and then reshooting over already-exposed negatives. It’s not a highly original idea but there were some variables I wanted to test out, especially since I was out to capture several layers of images.

I’ll spare you the details, but I got a pretty good success rate (and 6 out of 24 is good). I tracked the entire project on a blog called Wanderlust Film, which involved the journey of a roll of film from Hawaii to New Zealand to Washington to Texas, through the hands of family and friends.

Speaking of blogs, I owe a lot to the genius who came up with this concept. It has become an unexpected networking tool for me since beginning my food (and thought and whatever else I want) blog in October of 2007. One Hungry Soul opened up the opportunity to intern for a great start-up known as Foodzie. Web-based but highly personal, this company is passionate about seeing artisan food producers and growers succeed in their small businesses. I play an (appropriately) unglamorous intern’s role, writing and editing copy for the new producers’ stores being set up on the site. However, in July I’ll be heading to San Francisco to work at the Foodzie headquarters, doing food photography and more complete writing assignments - all an extension of what I do through my blog and love so much.

My love for creating in the kitchen came from my mother and my love for capturing through a camera lens came from my father. My mom dedicated herself to raising us four children and allowed sewing projects and recipes to be her creative outlets. As soon as I was capable, she had me (and eventually my younger sister) in the kitchen helping cut vegetables for salad or stir mixtures in pots. Even earlier than that, we were setting the table and spending the hour before dinner hanging around the kitchen nagging her about when it was going to be done and what she was doing each step of the way. As I’ve observed college friends in the kitchen and tried to explain a bit of what I do and why, I realize that I learned a lot through osmosis – through simple observation – and the rest through battling through my own recipes (and reading a lot of Cook’s Illustrated).

Photography crept into my life in the most casual of ways, but it was my dad who really helped me gain an eye for the beautiful details in life and inspired me to capture them. When I left for college, he’d email me photos of the flowers in his garden or the sun setting behind Mt. Baker, taken from our front porch.

I’m hoping to take my continually developing skill-sets and find a niche for myself as a photographer, writer, food-lover, etc. as I head to Auckland, New Zealand in September (though paying the bills through almost any means will do at first). As much as this is a step forward with much newness, it is also a major step back, to a place where I spent my childhood years and haven’t set foot in fifteen years.

My family moved to New Zealand when I was four years old, as my parents had connects there that turned into a job opportunity for my dad. I spent four very formative years acquiring an accent that lingered barely a year once we moved back to the States. The memories began to blur within another four years, as talk of returning became more realistic and less hopeful.

It’s a dizzying sort of prospect to move back there, but I am growing in confidence in these steps being laid down before me. I am returning for an indefinite period of time and am going to intern for North Shore Church of Christ, through an ACU program known as Worldwide Witness, for the first four months.

I am itching to discover what is in store. My hunch is that it will be exhilarating, challenging, uncomfortable, humbling, refreshing, and everything in between. Still, I’m not hung up on any particular expectations. God continues to surprise, and he is ultimately trustworthy and good when all is said and done.


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