The First Photo

In 2004, my friend Michael and I went on a short mission trip to Mexico with a church group. We took Christmas gifts to an orphanage and spent two days hanging out with the kids.

There was this little girl who became my favorite. Something about her reminded me of myself. She was the smallest and yet the life of the party. Since I don’t know much Spanish, we mainly tried to make each other laugh. The last day of our visit I took a photo of her playing on the swings.

When I came home and saw the photo, I knew I had captured something special. Here she was poor, no parents and yet still full of joy. This was a moment of pure happiness and my little digital camera captured it.

I printed it and framed it. This was the first picture I had taken that said something powerful. It was the beginning of my journey as a photographer. Though it’s not perfect, its one of my favorites.

She gave more than she will ever know. I often wonder where she is at now. She would be 12. Crazy. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me but I’ll never forget her.

I see this photo every day and get inspired. She reminds me to be thankful for what I have and most importantly, to laugh.

An Image of Hope

There are certain images I can’t seem to get out of my head. There was this moment years ago when I was jobless and pretty much hopeless. I felt useless and rejected by every job out there. Not only could I not find an editing job but not even the shallow mall jobs would hire me.

I remember one day when I went to the grocery store with my mom. I had nothing else to do and had to get out of the house. As we parked and got off the car I had my head down. As we walked to the door entrance of the store, I saw this little girl. She was about five. Her mom held her by the hand and was pulling her to walk faster. But this little girl had her eyes close and was taking in the sunset. She had the biggest smile on her face. The way the sunlight was hitting her face and the pure hope she had stayed with me. In fact it encouraged me through that season. I had to remember my child like hope and faith. I had to stop my negative thoughts and take in the sunset, to remember who God is and to forget what I am not. God soon opened up a door at The Rock Church for me to be a graphic designer, and a year later moved me in to the video department. Even though I didn’t find an editing job right away, I didn’t give up. I remembered the little girl and the hope she had. I too had to become a child and just trust in God.


Sariah, originally uploaded by Monica Briano.

It’s amazing how fast times passes us by. When I was Sariah’s age I was best friends with her mom. We would play at church together. I remember jumping around in our little dresses laughing. And now today I took a photo of my friend’s daughter. It amazing me how much she resembles her mom. I look at Sariah and for a moment, think it’s her mom Mandy.