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This month, I picked up my camera for the sole purpose of documenting moments. The first time I've done so since graduating with my Masters in two years from The George Washington University. If I'm being honest, I was emotionally and mentally drained from my capstone-turned longterm project, Black & Dangerous. This project, as impactful as it was, took a heavy toll on me; blurring my vision on my relationship with documentary photography.

Anything I decided to shoot since graduating in May 2021 was solely client-based. I found it easier to cater to the needs of clients (birthday and graduation portraits, branding shoots, weddings, etc.), than it was to focus on my own mental and emotional needs and passions. I took a hiatus from that which brings me joy, the real practice of visual documentation.

On December 26, 2022, I experienced a life-altering event that I am still recovering from emotionally and mentally. This experience caused me to reconsider what I dedicate my energy, time, and resources to. I started to reevaluate the things I said I valued and put my actions where my mouth was to ensure my values were evident in my life; it was time to adjust my focus and get to work.

One of my core values is my relationship with my family and friends. I believe that your family is the ancestral lineage you were born into and your friends are the family you choose. I spent a lot of time in the first two quarters of 2023 trying to reevaluate how I will show up authentically and intentionally as the best version of myself for myself and my loved ones. I had been depressed for months and wasn't showing up for others in the best ways I could have.

June felt like the perfect time to finally put actions to my desires for change, as I found myself with a renewed desire to enact on all the healing and growth work I had done for the last 5 months. We finally had longer days, warmer temperatures to enjoy, and it was the kickoff to the summer. I decided the best way to make use of this new found energy was to start by doing something I loved – documenting life's precious moments.

My friend Shay's birthday is June 1st, so I knew celebrating her birthday weekend would be the perfect excuse to whip out my camera and start capturing moments she would share with her friends. Picking up my camera that weekend was just as much for Shay as it was for me. I needed a reminder of why I loved documentary photography so much, and Shay needed to be surrounded by the people who love her the most. Documenting these moments for her allowed me to allocate energy into one of my values by partaking in the beauty of friendship.

I'm happy to be back documenting moments of value to me. Sometimes in life we just need to adjust our focus, then we can really see what truly matters.

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