Written on July 5, 2018
When I go to take a picture, I like to ask myself, what story is this going to tell? I would so much rather take a photo that ilicits a story to be told than to capture an image of a famously picturesque scene. I’ve been looking forward to today all week. We’ve been given permission to take pictures of our activities and with the kids as much as we want today since it’s our last day to help with English camp. I’ve been designated The Official Team Photographer. Excitement aside, I’m feeling the pressure of properly documenting the sights we’ve all been seeing. I don’t want to mess up the memory I have of this place by taking a less than inspiring photo.
“Come on, time to rally! It’s our last day of camp!” Martha encourages me as I drag myself out of bed.
I have someone else hold my camera during evangelism time so that I can get a few shots of myself teaching the hand motions to the song “My God”. I want to cry thinking that this is the last time I’ll get to dance with these kiddos.
The day has barely started when we’re serving breakfast, and I already feel sad stuck behind my camera. I don’t want to take pictures of others hugging children, I want to hug the children. Huh. Maybe I have grown from this experience, afterall.
I feels weird to be taking picutres of my team serving the students while I stand awkwardly near them trying to pretend not to be there. I want to be giving kids their little pieces of bread and bowls of porridge and smiling while I clean up juice spills.
I don’t know how journalistic photographers do it: go into foreign countries and take pictures of the despairing things that happen without directly helping the people they see. I can hardly make it through this one meal without stopping to hand out spoons or wash dirty cups.
Taking picutres of the classrooms feels better. I stand in the back and try not to be a distraction. I want to be invisible and get shots of the kids doing whatever they’re already doing. I’m pretty against posing them in this setting. I just click the shutter and hope to encompass genuineness.
While taking picutres of the outdoor activities group, it’s impossible to be invisible. The kids during my time out there are the oldest group: teenagers. They’re enthralled by my camera, and though I’m typically very protective, I’m apt to sharing in this moment because I want them to have the experience of using it. Also, I want to think of them the next time that I use it.
I have to admit, I did appreciate the independence I had while being the team photographer for the day. I wasn’t married to a specific classroom or group. I got to float around and spend time with all of the kids and all of my team members. I even went and laid down in my bed for a while when I got too hot and needed a break. I have to start viewing my personality quirks and differences as a positive thing.
I got to spend most of the afternoon going through the pictures I took, which might be one of my favorite pastimes in the world. I laid on a sleeping bag in the pavilion next to a sleeping Martha for about two hours before we had dinner.
I’m looking forward to devotionals tonight because I’m eager to hear everyone identify what their peak of the day was. I feel like I did a decent job at catching the highlights of what everyone was doing. I was very entertained by getting to experience everyone else’s moments by photographing them. I’ve always enjoyed documenting things that happen in my family or in my own life, but even the people I haven’t grown close to on the trip have stories to tell through the pictures that I took and I find that that connects me to them in a way I might not have been able to otherwise.
Once everyone’s gone around and spoken their favorite parts of their day, I’m pretty pleased with the way my images aligned with the tales they told. I believe I did the trip justice by being able to see what was happening and sifting through the worthy parts to remember.
It isn’t until the very end of devotional time that it hits me: our task of this trip is completed. We don’t leave until Saturday, but our time at the English camp and with the children is over. Coach asks everyone to go around and now tell their most highlighted moment from the entire week.
My mind goes blank because I can’t fathom that our trip is over. I mean, it’s been amazing, but this can’t be it, can it? Going to the beach tomorrow doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I want to stay behind and spend another day with the kiddos. I need more. Surely I haven’t experienced everything God wanted me to experience yet. Surely I haven’t done everything God brought me here to do yet. These daunting thoughts steal most of my rest tonight.
Liv – Authentically