Hidden Strength

You know what they say about when you “assume”? I hope I’m not the only person on this planet that slips into assumption mode from time to time…

For example, I had some pretty major assumptions when it came to “carbon fiber”. That term just conjured up invincibility to me. I swear I thought if something is made out of carbon fiber it’s bullet proof – nearly indesctrucible.

So imagine my glee when I finally bought a carbon fiber tripod! Now my camera could rest securely on the toughest material known to man! Well, that’s what I told myself, that’s how I justified the outrageous price tag. At the time I was shooting lots of architectural images for a great client, so I looked forward to the day I’d actually be able to put it to use.

The day came and it was a glorious day – I opted to ride my motorcycle. I strapped the camera bag and tripod to the back of the bike and headed out onto a freeway that was very packed and moving fast. An hour later I stopped at my destination and the tripod was gone. I was mad because I would be missing the good light as I went back to find it, would have to return on another day, but I had to have a tripod. So I turned around and started scouring the roadway for my discarded tripod.

It never occurred to me it would be damaged. My assumption of strength gave me false hope.

it wasn’t damaged, it was obliterated. The largest piece I found was the size of a house key. And with that, my assumption of strength was shattered like a carbon fiber tripod hitting the freeway…

katie_mal.jpg

Meet Katy. I’ve known Katy for a long time – in varying degrees…

In high school she was a friend of a friend – I’d drop by her house occasionally. Small high school, small church group, we sort of ran in the same circles.

Then she showed up in my beginning photography class decades later. This lady had some chops when it came to photography, and even after the class we would talk now and again – Facebook kept us in touch.

And finally she helped me with a shoot as my photo assistant. I get a lot of people that want to tag along and see the magic unfold. I’m quite certain if there is any magic it’s all hidden very well and difficult to find, but I always appreciate the additional energy on a shoot, and the help bouncing the light around to make fun images.

So I’ve been around Katy. I know her. She’s in my phone list, I’m in hers. We’ve talked, learned, and worked together on many occasions. I assumed I knew her.

Then in a conversation I learned one fact that still amazes me. Katy was born deaf. I pride myself on being pretty observant – granted I do have my blind spots – but this one fact had completely escaped me.

As I sit here at type this I’m still having a hard time believing it. She’s so… normal. I talk, she responds, we misunderstand and restate and find common ground and it’s just… so unremarkably the same as the way I communicate and build relationships with other people in my world.

But upon further questioning I find that she started at a school for the deaf at 18 months old, that she’s completely deaf without her hearing aids, that she compensates by reading lips…

The more I learn the more I realize I’ve assumed. The admiration I have for this woman turns into awe. I’m humbled.

Another assumption shatters like a carbon fiber tripod…

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