♪♫ The times they are a changin’ ♫♪

“Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown” Bob Dylan

Admission: The waters have grown. But I’m not drowning. I’m frolicking in them. I’m leaping up above them and letting them show me a new way to play.

It’s been a little over 5½ years since I joyfully left corporate America to pursue the passion in my life: photography. I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like so I tried to develop it two-fold. I shared an art gallery with other artists showcasing the body of work I had accumulated over the 5 or so previous years; and, I took on any type of commissioned session offered to me: weddings, portrait sessions of all types, even product photos for websites. That has gradually narrowed down over the years to more personal one on one settings.

For the past year or so, however, I’ve felt a stirring in my soul… waters growing, if you will. I have had a huge passion to make a difference with my photography… even over building a money-making enterprise. Also, I have had a desire to “create”. I learned in a fine art workshop I recently attended that photography is a language, and if it’s good, it communicates as well as the spoken word does. I haven’t had time to do much of my own creating because I have been so busy helping others achieve their own vision with their portraits. It has been a very rewarding season, and I have been so very enriched by the connections I have made thru this type of work! But… the times they are a changin’

On the “creation” side, I am now in the process of working on a creative body of work that I hope one day will be a series that either an art gallery or publisher might find worthy. But more about that later. That is still in its early stages….

Someone in her life hurt her very deeply once using her beloved kitty, so now, her need for a cat in her life is so great, this kitty was qualified as a therapy cat, and it does indeed work wonders in Shontelle's life.

Someone in her life hurt her very deeply once using her beloved kitty, so now, her need for a cat in her life is so great, this kitty was qualified as a therapy cat, and it does indeed work wonders in Shontelle’s life.

What is NOW… is a HUGE desire that my photography make a difference in people’s lives. That has always been my passion, but I didn’t give it very much attention in favor of a slew of $250 sessions that kept me too busy. Not that it hasn’t always been my desire for those sessions to make a difference in people’s lives too, but now, I want to make a difference to people who may not be able to afford a session, but whose lives have amazing stories and might be changed by telling them through the language of photography.

Web-1576

The getting ready part was so much of the fun!  She picked out her favorite "fancy" dress to wear for her photos.

The getting ready part was so much of the fun! She picked out her favorite “fancy” dress to wear for her photos.

Project one. My friends Dar and her daughter, Shontelle. Shontelle has Down’s Syndrome and is 18-years old. She is not well. In fact, very recently, she was in ICU for quite some time fighting what at the time seemed like a losing battle for her life. It was serious. Shontelle fought hard and was released to much relief of those who love her. But she still fights hard and has to be on oxygen 24/7. Dar is also disabled, having raised Shontelle as a single mom in a wheelchair all of Shontelle’s life. She is THE most amazing, devoted mom any child on this earth could have. She amazes me!

We had been wanting to do “glamour” photos for Shontelle for a couple of years, but it never worked out. It was either because I was trying to get caught up to where I could, Dar was sick, Shontelle was sick. It was always something. When she almost died, I was devastated that we hadn’t done it. So was Dar. So as SOON as Shontelle was better enough, I went to their house with my camera and a small backdrop, and we told Shontelle’s story thru the language of photography.

Language is difficult for Shontelle. When I first got there, she was shy. Afraid. She hid. I prayed, “Uh-oh… Help us, God….” He did. She shyly came out, and we began telling stories and relating to each other, but tho she did some giggling and smiling, she was still shy and uncomfortable. Then, it became apparent why. She whispered to her mom that my eyes looked similar to the eyes of someone in her life who hurt her deeply, and she admitted it made her nervous. Another prayer, “Help us, God!” Then, she came over to me and looked ever… EVER so deeply into my eyes and studied them intensely for what seemed like an eternity, but I suspect it was only a few moments. Then… the most melting experience I may have had in photography: she wrapped her arms around me as tightly as she could and said in her Shontelle way, “I wuh ooo Sa-eee!” and she gave me a kiss. I was not that bad person in her life. I was me, and she could feel my love for her. The rest of the day it was regular hugs and kisses and laughter. She felt beautiful, and she delighted in anything we asked her to do. I was making a difference, and it was healing and soul filling.

Web-1597Web-1598At another moment, Dar began sharing. Dar, who is ALWAYS positive! She ALWAYS expects the best, speaks the best, notices the best in others, and refuses to let “sad” enter her existence. That Dar. But she shared with me the terror she felt as her daughter lay dying in her hospital bed. She got just a little emotional. INSTANTLY, I was “not in the room”, as Shontelle rushed over to her mother to share this emotional moment with her and comfort her. I had been pretty much clicking the camera the entire time, so it wasn’t awkward, but I realized when I got home and looked at the photos that I had captured a falling tear as Dar and Shontelle shared that emotional experience together. I still get emotional thinking of the power of that moment.

She liiiiiiikes what she sees! :)

She liiiiiiikes what she sees! 🙂

It was an amazing day with amazing people, and I knew: “THIS is what I was created to do!” And it felt so good! I will do much more of this type of work. I’m sure it will take many forms. As I have tried to do for the past 5½ years, I will listen to the nudgings in my spirit that I feel are from God, and I will use my language to speak in a way that hopefully… prayerfully makes a difference.

Ta-Daaaaaaaaaaa!  Beautiful girl!  :)

Ta-Daaaaaaaaaaa! Beautiful girl! 🙂

I created a video of our day together. I chose this song because Dar played it for me that day, and as she played it, she became emotional with how much the song meant to her. It worked for Shontelle’s photos beautifully. After I sent it to Dar, she sent me a video of Shontelle watching it, complete with her stopping in the middle to get a Kleenex to wipe her tears away. It made a difference! To a beautiful little soul that most definitely made a HUGE difference in MY life! I will never forget our day together… and the turning point it created in my life. Thanks to my friends more than I can say!

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About Sandy

I'm Sandy Powers, full-time photographer, doing what I love with my life! My passion is PEOPLE! There is such artistry in people, and I love capturing it. Naturally, portraiture is my passion, but I also love shooting for the art of photography for competitions or exhibit. I once watched an interview with Kim Walker, a well-known Christian worship leader. What she said resonated with me and pretty much describes my own story. In the interview, she said she didn't have to force things to happen for herself. She didn't have to push. She didn't have to overly promote herself or call people and beg them to hire her. In fact, she didn't have to do anything except keep her eyes on Jesus and watch Him bring her destiny to her. That's exactly how I feel. I walk each day by faith, and my eyes are on Him! I have watched in amazement as He has orchestrated circumstance to bring my destiny to me. I thank Him daily for allowing me to not only do what I love, but to use what I love to bless others! So, how is "the destiny" unfolding? Well. . . . My work has been juried into temporary museum and art gallery exhibits, I have been featured in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, my portraiture and fine art have won several awards in national and international competitions, and one of my portraits was selected by an Adobe Lightroom blog as one of the top 50 most stunning black and white photos. I'm a member of Professional Photographers of America and the Texas Photographic Society. Anything else??? Send me a note (Sandy@SandyP.net) any time! I LOVE meeting new people, sharing stories, and best of all, changing the "ordinary" to extraordinary through photography!
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13 Responses to ♪♫ The times they are a changin’ ♫♪

  1. I have been waiting to hear this life changing story from you for a very long time Sandy. I have watched your photography journey for as long as I have known you. God always delivers in His time frame, and He has answered your prayers. You have such an amazing talent, not only with your photography skills, but with a compassion and love you have for people, especially people who just need a soft touch that tells them, they are loved. One of my constant prayers in my life is for others to see Jesus in me. For you Sandy, there is no doubt that others get to see Jesus in you. May you be blessed beyond measure, as you follow the Lords direction in your life, in the gift you give others through your love and photography.

  2. ~Dar~Shontelle~ says:

    Sandy, that day meant more to Shontelle and I than we can ever say!!! It was ‘healing’ for both of us! And the video is the most beautiful thing we have ever seen!!!! How you were able to capture the pure, unconditioned love between us still astounds me!
    Thank you so very, very much for honoring Shontelle and myself with being the first in your new endeavor😘, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
    Love you,
    ~Dar~Shontelle~
    ❤Johnson❤

  3. dourque says:

    You take beautiful photos and this has a beautiful story too! I’ve waited to hear the back story on this. Well done, Sandy! Proud of you!

  4. Mark Z says:

    What a beautiful story and photos. You have an amazing gift. Good luck in your new journey.

  5. Jim Coleman says:

    Sandy/Shontelle/Dar,
    First Sandy, what a wonderful composition! The “story” the photos, the music, the whole composition!…Really nice!
    Shontelle/ Dar, one of the neat things about Heaven and Eternity is that He has chosen each of us, each of you to be in this time, place and circumstance. We may not like all the parts of it now but He is putting us together just like this besutiful video/story to one day have a really neat “show” that we will be in…keep practicing(living) He has wonderful plans for you, for each of us, and none will be disappointed!
    Very nice work, all involved!

    • Sandy says:

      Jim! What beautiful, encouraging words! THANK YOU!!! ❤️☺️❤️

    • ~Dar~Shontelle~ says:

      Jim, your words really spoke to me! I hear so many folks say “why me Lord?”; but I choose to ask “why not me Lord?”. When I try to fathom what our Savior suffered on the cross, I realize that the little bit we suffer here on earth can’t even begin to compare what He gave for us!!! So yes, why not me Lord?
      Shontelle has truly been my greatest love and joy and I treasure each and every day that we have together! Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow isn’t promised! So rejoice in what the Lord has given you TODAY!!!

      ~Dar~Shontelle~
      ❤Johnson❤

      • Sandy says:

        Dar, just when I think you couldn’t inspire me more, you once again bring tears to my eyes with your faith, your perspective, and the “like Jesus” way you face life!

  6. rocknrollg says:

    This is beautifully written and I enjoyed it very much, and sending much admiration ! Keep the faith and the good work you are doing!

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