Why I'm Thankful for PhotographyMe Ra Koh
In my bio, I start by saying: “I didn’t find photography. Photography found me. And then it healed me.”
I’m thankful for the healing. I’m thankful for how that healing evolved into becoming a voice for me, a vehicle to express my heart — to heal my heart. Like all good gifts, the gift of photography reached out from my life and brought goodness into the lives of those I love.
As my children have grown through several stages, I’ve been able to document them with my camera. I look at the photo of Pascaline, my daughter, dancing like a princess when she was five years old. It seems like that moment was just yesterday. I stand it next to the photo of her dancing in the park last month, a taller girl, a 7th grader, who still carries the heart of a princess. Where does the time go? I’m so thankful that in this busy world, photography allows for the pause. The soaking in of a single moment. The sound of my exhale, as my heart is overwhelmed with the beautiful change I see in my girl.
And then the art of photography knocks on my heart’s door again. It says: “Allow me to reach even further. To reach across foreign seas, to touch people that are strangers waiting to be friends. Allow me to be their voice.” With uncertainty and deep awareness of how awkward it is to be in a foreign land, to leave the familiar, I respond to the knocking at my heart’s door. I venture to Egypt in the middle of a turbulent season. I meet the people. I fall in love with the people.
I am captured by their joy.
And I realize photography becomes a voice for those who are not always heard. I am changed by photography again. I am healed even more.
But what am I most thankful for? Photography has shown me that the dark is not something to be afraid of. That we need shadows to define the light. That without the mix of shadows, there is no depth. I want to do more than exist. I want to shine. Allowing for shadows, not being ashamed of those shadows, allows light to shine.
Here is why I’m thankful for photography…