As you probably could have guessed from the way I talked about my first session with Aubrey, I was counting down the days until her senior year when I would have the opportunity to photograph her again. When the time finally arrived and we began planning her session, Aubrey let me know that she really wanted to capture her love of the city, particularly Dallas, where she spent four years at a prestigious high school for gifted visual and performing arts students.
I love collaborating with other creative people, especially when they are like Aubrey and her Mom, who totally trusted me to explore and try something new for their session. This was my first “rooftop” session, and it was just magical. I love a brand new location. It forces me to see and create for the first time and to dig within for inspiration. Once I’ve shot somewhere, it’s really a challenge for me to “unsee” what I’ve previously created. Since my goal is always to capture the unique personality of each teenager I photograph, however, the ability to see things in a new way is essential. I’m thankful for sessions like Aubrey’s that help me get back into the swing of mixing things up!
These rooftop images make me so happy because I can recall the feeling I had that night—pure joy! And since our last session, I could tell that something had changed and matured inside Aubrey, too. The uncertainty was gone, replaced by a humble assuredness. Aubrey has absolutely no idea just how beautiful she is, and honestly, as gorgeous as she is on the outside, her beauty really radiates from within. During her senior session, I was no longer trying to coerce an unsure 16-year-old to be seen. Instead, I was capturing a beautiful, confident young woman just before she took flight on her next adventure. She had stars in her eyes and was laser-focused on her dream of attending another prestigious dance conservatory in another big city, this time as a college student! She inspired me, and so did her mom. I remember thinking, “I want be as supportive of my own daughters’ dreams as Tiffany is…even if those dreams lead them thousands of miles away from me.” It’s a gut-wrenching thought to be so far away from your baby, but I so admire Tiffany’s willingness to let her daughter fly.
I don’t know what it is exactly about Aubrey—maybe it’s her comfort in front of the camera, or just her openness to exploration—but “firsts” always seem to happen with her. Not only did she help me create that iconic rooftop city image, which I’ve since reimagined for other seniors equally in love with the Dallas skyline, but hers was the first “upside down” image I created, too. Her Mom actually ordered this one on canvas, which I absolutely adore!
I have SO loved following along on Aubrey’s college journey. I think she would agree with me when I say that not everything about that journey has gone as planned, but that every step has grown her and lead her to the certainty of where she stands today. After going to dinner with a current senior I adore, and talking about pursuing dreams so that you never have regrets or those “What if?” wonders, I called Aubrey and asked if she would be open to sharing her story with you all. She has such an important message to share, and very soon, she’ll be doing just that right here on the blog, in her own words. I couldn’t be more honored to share it with you, and I know it will resonate with my class of 2016 seniors and senior Mommas alike!
Tiffany and Aubrey, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to play a small part capturing your journey. I think the world of both of you—big love to you always.