Behind The Lens

Levi Nelson
Class of 2017

Photos by A Different Light Photography. 
Written by Erin Bagley & Christin Zeisler.  
Edited by Erin Bagley.

During most of my senior photo sessions, I hear about the plans of the talented senior—their college plans, career goals, and what the next steps are. Parents express how proud they are as their children are growing up and becoming adults. However, rarely do I get to see the robust history that has helped shape the senior into who they are.  

My recent senior session was quite different. I was privileged to walk through the childhood homes of the young man I was photographing. I joined him and his mother on a delightful journey that day. I listened to how every room reminded them of a time in younger years. 

Hearing the vibrant memories of the old house placed me back in time alongside them to the moments they tenderly recollected.  

As a photographer, I love to visit old houses. At times, they are abandoned and empty. Even so, I can appreciate the strong bones as I visualize a quaint family home that holds stories within the walls. 

Continuing on the senior’s flashback journey, we ventured down to the rolling creek where the children used to catch crawdads. 

Past the creek, we moved onto town. A quaint little white house sits on the edge of a cul de sac across from a park. I listened as they reminisced on childhood memories of playing all day in the park, repainting while preparing for parties, and remarked on how old everything now looked. Where they saw tall weeds and a tattered neighborhood, I could picture the kids riding their shiny new bikes over to the park while mom watched from the front porch.

We ventured on to the nearby flower farm. I heard about how the family used to walk down to Mr. Cory’s flower farm on Valley Road as the kids would explore the stunning hillside covered in flowers. I was speechless as I gazed at the glory of the budding arbor covered in vining plants. I could almost feel the sunshine and hear the birds chirping as I imagined what it would be like during the springtime.

Mr. Cory walked us around the property and told us how he had planted over 4,000 Snowdrop flowers so that his wife could see them from their front room window. Here I was again in the midst of the stories as if they were my own. I could feel the passion and labor that went into the flourishing land here. I felt emotionally attached at I stood on the driveway of bricks. Mr. Cory informed us that we stood on a driveway of precisely 9,400 bricks. He knew this because the hands of Mr. Cory himself laid each brick.

We ended our session at the Grandview Cemetery overlooking our small city. As we wrapped up the session, I was in awe of all that took place this day. The site of the city caused me to evoke my own childhood memories that are spread across the town.  My job this day was not just to photograph the senior, but to photograph his history and to produce more history that will live on for the generations of family to come. What an outstanding combination of my love for photography, my love for history, and my love for family memories. 

“Remember the time the heat went out and all four children slept on the wooden floors of the tiny front room?”

“Do you recall the time we got new portable DVD players? We would carry those new gems around the house watching High School Musical!”

“Look at how big the creek has gotten. It has really expanded since the last time we visited!”

“That’s where you broke your leg. I had to carry you all the way back to the house.”

“You see these here?  All of these warm days have them confused; they are already blooming.”

A Different Light Photography


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