What makes a moment special enough to persevere it with a photograph?
The perfect moment that lead to my most perfect photograph
What makes a moment special? More particularly, what makes a moment special enough to want to capture a photograph of it? I’m sure there are millions of possible answers. I bet if you ask this question to every person you meet, each answer would be just as unique as the individual answering.
I spent quite some time deep in thought to come up with my own answer to this question. I never really thought about it before, like REALLY thought about it. I have always loved taking pictures. I’m nowhere near a professional, I’ve never even owned a fancy camera. I’ve always wanted a DSLR, but I have never been able to afford one. However, I enjoy taking pictures. I’ve always felt like I have a good “eye” for photography, despite my lack of decent equipment. Due to not owning pro gear I’ve developed a talent for getting creative, and being able create great images using what’s available to me on my limited budget. So when this question came up it made me start thinking about why I’m passionate about photography to begin with, and why I continue to pursue my goal of becoming a photographer. I kept coming back to the same answer; I enjoy capturing moments. Not just moments though, special moments. Moments that make you think, moments that make you feel. I really love that you can capture a feeling in a photograph, and then be able to share that feeling with other people. I find it quite amazing that I can take a picture of something that makes me feel a certain way, and then make other people feel the same emotions when they see the image.
Which brings me to the shot I chose for this story. While I was soul searching I was scrolling though my camera roll on my phone, looking at all the pictures I’ve snapped over the past year. This picture stood out to me the most which is why I chose it. Every picture in my camera roll makes me “feel” something, wether it’s a specific memory of what I was doing, who I was with, how I was feeling, or where I was at any given time... but this picture is different. It represents all of that, and so much more. It represents my life this past year, it represents my future, it represents my new beginning, and most of all it represents my renewed faith in love, and life in general.
I can’t lie, I probably look at this picture over 1000 times a day. No, I don’t just obsessively stare at my pictures all day, it’s actually the lock screen of my phone, I do find myself staring at it often because of that though. It’s a black and white portrait shot of my boyfriend playing his acoustic guitar at a lake, shot on my iPhone 7 Plus with some minor editing. So what’s the story behind the photo, and why does it mean so much to me? First off, it’s not just a picture of my boyfriend, it’s a picture of my soulmate. To understand why that means so much to me you need to understand the situation I was in, and the path that lead me to this moment. Last year if someone mentioned the word “soulmate” to me, I probably would have laughed and called them crazy. I never believed in stuff like that. Being a 29 year old woman I have had my fair share of crappy relationships, the most recent of which lasted 7 years. It was the kind of relationship that you know should probably end, but you stay because it’s become hard to imagine being alone, or having a to start over after so much time. We fought all the time, he cheated, lied, was controlling, manipulative, was constantly accusing me of things, was suspicious of everything I did, and everyone I talked to, even having friends was an issue... but I was comfortable, and honestly didn’t know how to live without him. I wasn’t in love with him, we got along and I liked him. As far as I was concerned I didn’t believe “real” love existed. I mean, I loved my boyfriend in high school, I always considered him the love of my life... he cheated on me, broke my heart, and even though he’s a crappy human being I have always felt like he was my forever love, the one you never forget.
Last year despite the protesting from my boyfriend, I decided to go back to school to get my high school diploma. My boyfriend hated that I was going to school, I was socializing with people he didn’t know, therefore he couldn’t control the situation. We fought almost everyday when I came home, he would go crazy if when I told stories about new friends I met, or my day at school. I couldn’t help being excited though, it was the first taste of freedom I experienced in 7 years. Then I met Jesse.. we had a couple of classes together, and hung out at lunch with two other girls I became friends with at the park near school. We never really talked much, I mostly spoke to the other girls, and Jesse would play his guitar. That’s actually how I met him. Most of my friends listened to rap, and hip hop. I did too... but I was raised on rock & roll and heavy metal, it’s always been my genre of preference. None of my friends shared my love of old music, so it was really nice to be around someone who appreciated good music. I remember the first time we spent lunch alone together, our other friends didn’t come to school, so it was just us at the park. It was the first time we had a real conversation, turned out we had a lot in common. We talked so much we actually lost track of time, I looked at my phone and realized we missed both our afternoon classes. I started secretly hoping that the other girls wouldn’t show up for school, so Jesse and I could spend time alone together at lunch. I was really starting to like him. A few weeks later I got the biggest shock of my life, it was Jesse’s birthday, and our friend asked him how old he’s turning, he told her he’s turning 22! I’m pretty sure the expression on my face was absolutely ridiculous, because she asked me if I was okay. How was this even possible? He was so mature, listened to old music, used proper English, hated social media, he didn’t even own a cell phone, and he was probably the most talented guitarist I’ve ever met in my life, he honestly played better than most people who have spent their whole lives practicing. Basically he was the complete opposite of every 22 year old male I’ve ever met in my life. I was basically crushed, I was really starting to like him a lot more than just a friend.. all I could think about was why would this young, extremely good looking, amazing guy bother with someone who is almost 10 years older than him. Even if there was a possibility, there’s no was it would last... how could it? Oh, and there was also the fact that I was still in a miserable relationship. One I didn’t know how to get out of even if I wanted too. The more time I spent with Jesse, the more I couldn’t stop thinking about him. It didn’t help that I was going home to a fight almost everyday. I felt guilty that I was in a relationship and constantly thinking about someone else, but I couldn’t help it. I was feeling things I never felt before... things I didn’t think were even real. One day we were alone at lunch for the 4th day in a row, I honestly couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like it was painfully obvious that I was falling in love with him I felt like I was making a total fool of myself... The night before I got into a particularly bad fight with my boyfriend, and Jesse was asking me about my relationship with him. I took a deep breath, gathered all my courage and told him I needed to tell him something. At first he just stared at me for what felt like an eternity. After I experienced approximately 10 panic attacks, and probably a mini stroke he finally responded, he told me he was really falling for me too but he was scared because I was older than him. I felt so relieved that I wasn’t alone. He told me he wanted to say something to me, but he wanted to respect the fact that I was in a relationship. He asked me if it was okay if he kissed me, I said yes because I wanted to so badly, but I felt really guilty about my boyfriend, then I remembered our fight the night before and didn’t care. It was the most awkward kiss ever, he was so nervous he was shaking... it was adorable. The kiss was horrible, but I had a feeling it was more due to nerves than him being a bad kisser. The feeling of relief didn’t last long... It was quickly replaced by panic. I was confused on what to do... should I leave my boyfriend? I was scared if I did, and things didn’t work out with Jesse I would be left with nothing. Do I just throw away my security, and the life I’ve been building for the past 7 years? I wasn’t happy with him, but things were comfortable and stable. He had a car, a decent job, things were far from perfect but it was real. I wasn’t 20 anymore, things like stability gets more important the older you get, more important than chasing love. I felt like love was for stupid naive kids in high school who still have hope, and believe in fairytales... not real life stuff. I was so confused... I started spending even more time with Jesse, I would go to his house after school. I would tell my boyfriend I was studying for exams with a girl from school. I did feel guilty, but at the same time it was the happiest I’d been in my life.
Finally I decided I had to break up with my boyfriend, I just didn’t know how. We got into a huge fight, and I told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore and I didn’t love him. The next morning he was being really loud when leaving for work, and he woke me up. I tried to go back to sleep, there was still 3 hours before I even had to be up. Finally I decided to get up and go see Jesse and walk to school with him. When I got to his house, I took my phone out of my purse. I had 50 missed calls and a million texts from my boyfriend. He only pretended to go to work, he wanted to try and catch me doing something, and freaked out when he came home and seen I wasn’t there. By the time I seen the missed calls, he was sending me pictures of his car packed with everything he ever bought for me, the TV , the air conditioner, and everything else he could fit. I probably should have been upset, but all I felt was relieved I didn’t have to find a way to break up with him. It was an extremely messy breakup, I had to endure relentless messages from him, constant threats, and harassment. He knew I had school, and needed my phone on for my alarm so he would sit and call my phone from 9pm until 7am every night. I didn’t want to be home alone, I was honestly afraid for my safety. My ex was going crazy. So I spent my first night at Jesse’s house with him. It was the first time I was able to sleep without sleeping pills in over 8 years... I haven’t been home since.
Jesse and I have been together just over a year now. In all this time we have never even come close to having a disagreement, never mind a fight. We finish each others sentences, we enjoy doing everything together, we are literally perfect for each other. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a more perfect relationship. We amaze each other everyday with how similar we are. I’ve learned so much from him being with him. I’ve learned that happiness is not just a fairytale, that true love really does exist, and that sometimes you have to just take a chance on something even if your completely unsure about it. I can say with confidence I have found my soulmate, and he’s changed my life. I’m a whole different person with him, I’m a better person. From the very beginning, whenever I was confused or feeling like leaving my ex was hopeless, Jesse would always start singing me the Guns N’ Roses song “Patience”... and tell me that things will all work out, that all I needed was just a little patience... I’ve always been a very impatient person, I would kind of just laugh at him. Now, I can’t hear that song without crying. One day that song will be playing at our wedding, something else I never believed in until now.
I snapped this picture of him when I brought him to the lake I grew up on, it’s my favourite place on earth. He’s my favourite person on earth, and he was playing our song to me on his guitar. He wasn’t posing for the picture, it was completely spontaneous, one single shot and I happened to capture such a perfect picture of him. That’s why this picture is so special to me, it was such a special moment and I feel those emotions every time I look at it, I can actually hear him playing our song. We actually took that trip to get away from a very stressful situation going on with my mother (that’s a whole other story...) The whole trip was awesome, and much needed.. but that moment in particular was just pure happiness, like nothing else in the world mattered but us being there, and being in love. I snapped that picture in that moment so I could hold on to that feeling forever, and that’s exactly what it has done for me. Las year I was horrified at not knowing what my future held, and all that seems so meaningless now. I have hope, and faith that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and with who I’m supposed to be with. I feel like I can face any challenge life wants to throw at me, he’s made me a stronger person, and I will always be thankful for the person he has turned me into. I take a lot of pictures of Jesse, and they all come out great (he’s very photogenic) but this one is special. We really bring out each others creativity. He writes music, I take pictures... Right now he’s working on an album from the ground up. Even though I have no musical talent, he always values my input. We brainstorm lyrics, and song titles together, I help him with his album art... I honestly can’t imagine my life without him.