Recently I was visiting a shoot of David Martinez’s and he was sharing a beautiful story about his daughter Ava and her passion for photography and commitment to service. She had just started her college career and was growing into a wonderful young woman. David’s story was so wonderful that I asked him to share it with us on the blog. Here is what he had to say.
“Like an image appearing on a photograph in silver halide salts- there is anticipation, excitement, and wonder at having a child return home from college. My daughter, Ava, went away to Occidental College last year and I wondered what she would be like after a year away from her mother and I. Would she be who she was when she left? Would she have new hobbies, new interests, new friends?
Sending a child out into the world is a lot like having your heart walk around on the outside of your body. You hope the world is kind to them, that you’ve taught them the skills to deal with a sometimes unkind world, but that they also have faith that the world can be a generous and loving place.
Ava decided that she wanted to go to Ghana, Africa during her summer break to volunteer at a children’s orphanage. She found the program herself, unsolicited by her teachers, her parents, her friends – it was something that only Ava wanted to do. In a word, I was worried.
She went away for two weeks + we heard very little from her – when we went to pick her up from the airport – I knew that something in Ava had changed.She has always been bright, beautiful and driven – but Ava had new focus. Over the next few weeks, Ava became more and more involved in the orphanage. She decided she wanted to raise enough money to give the orphanage electricity. We sat down together to look through her photographs to make some images for her to show her friends and family and use to talk about her experience. As the images appeared in our photo editing program (forget the silver halide salts!!), I watched in amazement as I took a look at the world through Ava’s eyes – at the children she played games with, the little cot she slept on, at the shaky orphanage structure.
It was the first time Ava had used a digital SLR, we talked about the magic of shooting in a RAW format – how to make color images into beautiful, rich black and white photos. We explored how cropping can affect the entire composition of an image, how just one image can tell a story, and how to take a picture that shows a real moment. It turns out Ava had a really great eye for photography – she edited her pictures and printed a book that beautifully represented her experience in Ghana. As a father and a photographer, I couldn’t have been more proud.
Please take a look at a few of Ava’s photographs and feel free to donate to her cause here.”