being a story teller

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when i think back over the jobs & careers i’ve had over the years, they all have one thing in common-i’m with people. an extrovert’s sweet spot.

waitress. hostess. fitness instructor. gift shop owner. pediatric nurse. portrait photographer. and noonday ambassador. there’s my little job time-line from the last thirty years.

each of these requires me to be “on”. cheerful. interacting. maybe even a little twist salesperson/marketing strategist thrown in for good measure. each season that i spent working in each field i thoroughly enjoyed it. i love meeting people & hearing their stories. when i practiced bed-side nursing, i worked primarily in mother/baby as well as adult & pediatric oncology. (i knew i could never been an emergency room nurse because i’d always wonder how they were doing after i triaged them & sent them on their way.) with both nursing & photography i’ve been gifted precious time with people during some of their monumental life moments. i’ve been with families while mommy labored & then helped her care for baby. i’ve taken care of fragile babies in the nicu & special care nursery. i’ve cared for patients during their last days & i’ve sat with families while they were given the heartbreaking news that their child had cancer. i’ve discharged kiddos from their final in-hospital chemo treatments with much celebration.

over the last several years i’ve been honored to work with families and capture memories to help them tell their stories through the art of photography. sometimes these have been with a fragile aging parent or terminally ill family member. sometimes with a mommy celebrating the baby she’s prayed for after many miscarriages or failed infertility treatments. young couples announcing they’re welcoming a sweet child to their family through adoption. celebrating engagements & marriages. chapter after chapter from the storybook of lives well lived.

there’s many days when i wish i had the gift of writing as i’d love to write a book. since i don’t always use correct grammar, much less appropriate capitalization, that dream might just need to sit on the back burner…but God gave me a sweet glimpse at the flip side of that little dream…

last week within a four day time span i shot six sessions & had a noonday trunk show as well.  each time i hop in my car after a noonday party or photographing a client, i feel so much joy …coupled with exhaustion some days…but i feel so much joy. being trusted to help tell someone’s story is a huge honor for me. whether it’s the story of a young mama across the globe working a job that brings her much dignity & gives her joy or whether it’s meeting a young couple weeks into their much awaited pregnancy in a magical christmas tree farm i realize i am telling a story. maybe not with words perhaps & maybe not with my name splashed on a book cover, but i’m writing their story through chasing light & freezing tender emotion in captured images.

i’m well aware that photography is quite the “it” thing right now. any one with an iPhone can nail some great shots. i’m well aware that there is a plethora of younger, more gifted, much more technically savvy, with much more expensive gear than i. no doubt. and i’m also well aware that these gifts of “story telling” are truly for such a time as this.  i pray before each session that my work, my art, glorifies Him. i pray that my time with each client is delightful for them & that they leave feeling beautiful and seen. and i thank Him for each opportunity He’s given me to find joy & purpose from my first job as a teenage waitress, through all the people i cared for as a nurse & now all the precious families and friends i’ve worked with over the last few years.

i believe a story teller lies within each of us no matter our job or vocation…awaken your inner story teller, go forth & tell your story my friend!

“Everybody likes to tell a story. Little children do it effortlessly.

Great artists do it with talent and years of practice.

Somewhere in between stand you and I.” – Sylvia Ziskind

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November 17, 2015 - 9:15 pm

Lisa Mothersead - I like when artists of any kind share their talented gifts with the world. We are all better for it.

November 17, 2015 - 10:53 pm

Beloved fan - Wow this story is really great! I love your posts! You make my life so much more enjoyable!!! <3

November 22, 2015 - 9:04 pm

Heidi Ferguson - Yes, you certainly have been there for so many of life’s events. Good and Bad. That’s whats so special about photography. I captures that moment in time that you can never get back. I love having all the pics I have of my cancer journey (did I just say that??) because I can look back and see how very far God has brought me. Would you believe I was at the hairdresser with my son today and ran into a friend who’s 10 year old daughter was getting her hair cut for Locks of Love….I had to tell Mom “get that phone out Mom, record THIS”. I just don’t get it when others don’t take pictures, it’s simple with your iPhone now days. However, to have a professional take pics for you is truly special. No doubt you’ve touched many lives and documents all of those moments they want to remember. Believe me Paige, there are many a “photographer” out there with much fancier equipment than you. Not many though with the HEART that you have. Your photo’s have always spoken to me. I love the light, and I’ve said over and over, you capture emotion better than anyone I’ve seen. Keep up the great work!

December 4, 2015 - 3:11 am

wynne - just beautiful my friend! love that we get to be a part of your stories that you tell so beautifully!