Mastery of a talent or skill is something that fascinates me. Perhaps its because I see the level of dedication involved. Or perhaps I'm drawn to things that others do that I cannot.
Seeing people in their element, doing something they love, something that makes them proud and brings them joy is a little like seeing the sun break through the clouds. It is glorious and awe inspiring. Enter Janie.
Janie is not only going through a rigorous medical program that is insanely competitive and requires miles of travel that takes her away from her family for days. It also requires all the hours she isn't traveling or on the job training to be spent studying. This woman works and she works hard. She has drive and dedication like you wouldn't believe. I know this because when I first met Janie she talked about sleeping in her car with a heated blanket if she couldn't find a place to stay that was near the hospital . . . this was in the dead middle of February. While Janie is a brilliant mind full of medical knowledge she's also a concert level cellist. Janie has been playing the cello since she was a child.
When she first saw one, when she first played it she knew. And thus began her journey filled with blisters, hours of practice, and, eventually, a national famous religious concert. I asked Janie what one of her most proud moments as a performer was. She said when she was in an orchestra called Zion's Youth where she got to play a piece specially written for cello's called Julie-O written by Mark Summer of the Turtle Island Quartet. Janie also said she was specially inspired by Kevin Olusola's performance. And who isn't blown away by the amazing talents of this beatboxing cellist? When I photographed Janie with her cello I knew I was going to create beautiful portraits for an already beautiful friend. But I was not prepared to have a private concert in the center of my studio. My biggest regret is not having sound equipment that would allow me to capture the depth and scope of what Janie played. It was as memorizing as it was moving.
The cello is an awe inspiring instrument. It's big and intimidating. Its a string instrument so it requires exact finger placement to get the notes just right. And when you do . . . when the cello is played . . . it not only fills the room, the sound echoing off the walls, but it fills your soul with deep, musical vibrations that leave you feeling as if you've spent time in another world.
It was an honor for me to photograph Janie and have her repeatedly play and show her craft in the studio.
Janie has a bond with her cello. It's the first one she's ever had and I can tell you because I closely inspected it, it is lovingly cared for. When she touches it or moves it or plays it, she moves with a gentle hand, exercising reverence and respect for her instrument as if it were an old friend. And I believe to her it is.
Her talents and skills have given me new appreciation for all musicians. All people who work to hone their craft and make it something special . . . not for the world, although that's usually a bonus . . . but special for them.
What an honor to be surrounded by your goodness, your music, and your beauty, Janie. Thank you for bringing music to life in my home. Love, Melinda.
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