A few weeks back, I was covering the annual musical for the school I work for. I was backstage capturing shots of the boys getting into makeup and costume (which drew me back to the fond memories of fashion week) when I noticed a woman taking photos. She was using a speedlight and anyone who knows me knows that I don’t believe in using flash when you don’t need to; see Jessica Kobeissi. To be completely transparent, I got angry. I thought, “who the heck does she think she is?” and “I’m getting paid for this; why is someone else encroaching on my territory?” I went so far as to text my boss and ask her (politely) who the woman was. It turns out she was a parent of a seventh grader who had many friends in the musical. When we got to chatting she was so kind, completely humble, and we ended up giggling about some common photography experiences.
In that moment, I felt so convicted. How had I, who has always looked up to other inspiring photographers and people excelling in the field, become someone who looked down on others because they didn’t have a super nice camera or because they were using flash? (Not to mention this was a MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSICAL). Was I not once in that spot, clueless about my equipment and desiring to get better? How can I be so prideful about my own talent when I know for a fact that it takes practice and time to improve and this gift is a gift from God? Who am I to deny anyone of their joy and passion and of their right to carry out their gift to its full potential? These thoughts came racing in and I was reminded of Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” When I can get out of my own way, and recognize that helping others can do nothing but help everyone in the end, it doesn’t matter who’s at the event capturing the photos. It doesn’t matter how many photographers there are when we’ve all been invited to take a seat at the table and to use our gifts specifically.
That being said, this was right before I went into a weekend with two important test shoots. Reflecting on that moment, I humbled myself and reminded myself that it really does take a team to produce something beautiful. The team on this shoot was nothing short of incredible and I’m so grateful for their time.