This I Believe

Jared - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
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“A Beautiful World”

I believe that there is a beauty to everything in the world.

When I was a young kid, I would often sit and watch my aunt create works of art. We would sit at out kitchen table, and she would use very delicate strokes and soft lines, and then accent it with vibrant, intense colors. Before I knew it, my aunt had created a masterpiece in front of me. She made it seem so simple to do.

One day, I asked her why she could make these pictures with such ease. She told me that she has a passion for beautiful things, and that she wanted to show the world how there was a beauty to everything, and everyone.

Not too long after she said this, my aunt was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a severe and life-threatening brain tumor. I was young at the time and did not realize the immensity of the situation, but I knew that it must have been important. My entire family began to save money and give it to my uncle so they could afford the surgery. She went to Boston, and we all kissed her good-bye, for we didn’t know if we were ever going to see her again.

Many hours later, we received a phone call that she had survived the operation with little complication. However, because of the huge size of the tumor, and the amount that they had to cut out, my aunt lost all use of her right arm, enabling her to continue with art. I wanted to carry on her work, and this is when I began photography. With photography I could see exactly what my final project would look like. My aunt was over joyed to see that I was applying her teachings to my own life, and that I was taking an interest to something imaginative.

I quickly became addicted the thrill of seeing life in a new way, even if it was just black and white. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I was accomplishing something that only adults could do. I began to think of myself as a professional, and had a sense of pride unlike anything else. I would walk down the street and see everything as a photo. Some would be close up, and some would be at funny angles.

I would then look at people and see them as portraits. I had so many ideas that I would look at a face and envision the lighting and the juxtaposition. I would force my sister to let me take pictures of her until we were sick. The main lesson I learned from looking at portraits, was that no matter what the skin color, religion, and gender of a person, they could still be beautiful. Whether they were over-weight or homeless, it was still possible to capture their beauty.

Through photography I learned to see the world in a different way. I saw people as people, and not as their heritage. And I saw land, and the entire world as something which could easily be misinterpreted. Everything had it’s own element of beauty, and I believe that with the right lighting, everyone will see it.