Haley Richelle // mike lake portraits
A year and a half ago, Haley and I got together for her to take some photos of me for my old website. I loved them. Looking back at them really brings me to that time – being almost 19, having spent the entire summer working outside, and so happy and content in my life after a long struggle with accepting myself and my body. In the moment they felt so “me”, and I was so appreciative, but I wouldn’t know until now how truly treasured those pictures would become.
During our absolutely freezing adventure finding our way to Mike Lake and around, I talked to Haley about how I finally kind of had one of those moments where I realized why photos are so important. I mean, I knew theoretically why they’re important. I believe truly that they’re so essential – I love photography and capturing genuine moments or feelings in life. But, from my own life experience, someone young and not married, I’ve never had photos of myself yet that really mean a whole lot to me. The types of photos that you cherish because they’re moments you want to remember forever, and their yours. Being a photographer means that I usually capture other people (though I do love to express myself through self-portraiture) and I hadn’t gotten to experience the greatfulness of having fleeting moments captured for myself.
Well when I was looking over the photos recently that Haley had taken for me, I had this odd sense of happiness wash over me. I’m glad that I have these pictures. I’m glad that I can remember this period of time in my life because of these pictures. I’m glad that they’re so “me”, I’m glad that they bring me right back to that summer. And I absolutely know that I’ll be grateful in 40 years when I’m 60 and have these photos of myself as a teenager – happy, youthful, excited about the life I have ahead of me. It was sort of this relevation like – oh, this is why what I do is important. This is what it’s all about. This is why being a photographer means so much more than just taking nice pictures.
Part of that is a testament to Haley’s photography – she’s such a lovely person and photographer and you should absolutely go check out her work. But the other part is an inspiration for myself. It’s what is going to drive me forward in my photography this year and onward. I want to take those images of you, images of you and your partner, doing what you love and being who you are. Genuine, adventurous, full of love and life. I want to create photographs that you can cherish and look back on and think – yea, that was such a good thing.
Photographs don’t just help you remember moments – they help you remember feelings too. They have the ability to bring you right back to the time and place, but also make a little pin point in time, to help you remember what else was all going on around those moments.
I hope to make some major strides and improvements in my photography this year. I’m happy to say that Haley also took more photos of me, and again I’m sure that I’ll treasure them just as much. Here’s to growth and development!