Beginnings and Dreams.
I often get asked about the inspiration behind the "Anything Can Be" project, or how I came up with the idea in the first place. It all started with this image of my son dreaming of playing for the Utah Jazz! I originally posted this picture in January 2012. I had just purchased some new lighting equipment and was excited to try the new gear out. I told Jake to put on his Jazz jersey and on a whim I asked him to wear this bed sheet sheet for fun! I pictured an image of Jake standing triumphantly with the cape flowing in the wind. So I asked my wife for help and she began tossing the cape in the air while I snapped away. She has been my cape technician ever since! I love the symbolism behind the cape made out of a sheet! This is not some factory made cape or high end costume replica, this is just a simple bed sheet. But in my mind it is the best kind of cape because it represents ingenuity and the power of imagination. I wanted to further explore the theme of children living out their dreams using the cape as a symbol for imagination and so I decided to do a few more shoots. I approached a friend to see if she would be interested in having her son pose for one of these shoots and she was totally on board! When asked what his dream would be Ashby stated that he wanted to be an engineer! The above image is what we came up with! This is still one of my favorite images that I have taken!
This image of Ben is another of my favorites and the 3rd image I did based on this concept and theme! I realized that there was something powerful and special about a child's imagination and dreams. They are so innocent, they are not inhibited by bias and negativity. They believe that anything is possible!
This image is of my son Ben, playing with his robots and is the first image in a two part series. The second image is found below. I have often wondered what is going on in my kid's heads as they play with their toys, making sound effects with their mouths! These two images were an attempt to explore that concept a bit.
These images make up the beginnings of this project, but it was only the beginning. As a photographer I am fascinated by a child's imagination and unwavering believe that anything can be. I wanted to explore this theme more, I wanted to create imagery that brings these kids dreams and imaginations to life. But there is more to it than a selfish desire to make cool pictures.
The real reason behind this project stems from my initial discovery that I loved photography. You see, I discovered my passion for photography after I had already begun a career practicing law. I remember thinking, "why now?" "Why not back then, when I was in high school with all my other friends?" "Why did I spend all this time going to law school, incurring unreal amounts of debt only to find out that my true passion in life was taking pictures?" I felt like I had been cheated a little, like I had wasted a lifetime on pointless pursuits. I was bothered by these questions. It wasn't until I started doing these pictures that I realized the answer. The answer came to me one night as I was editing the above image, and it was simple. What little talent I had been blessed with as a photographer, was never meant for me, but to be used to bless the lives of others.
Crazy right? Maybe a little! but I am in a unique position to really focus on using my photography to help others. I have a separate career, that so far supports the family! I did photography for others for a while, I still do on occasion as the extra money never hurts (remember those student loans I talked about?). But last year I decided I did not want to work for other people anymore and wanted to do something meaningful. I still wanted to explore the theme of children and their dreams and imaginations and so I figured what better way to do that than to photograph kids with cancer and their dreams.
So there you have it, that is how the Anything Can Be project started out! But that was only the beginning. This project has changed my life, It has evolved into something much more than just a way for me to give back. The more I have worked on this project, the more invested I have become. I have met some of the most amazing people on this planet. The kids I have met are more than just your average kid, they are so special and inspirational. They are fighting a monster that brings the toughest adults to their knees, and they do so with a smile on their faces. Their examples mean something, it is amazing? I believe with all my heart that I have something to give, that I can make a difference. I am no longer satisfied with using my talents to simply help out, whatever that means. No, I want my images to make a real difference, I want to change the world through my work, I want to find a cure for cancer! Wow, so there it is!!! On the internet for everyone to see I am all in now. But I have been, for a while now. Perhaps it is arrogant to say that my work could change the world or be instrumental in finding the cure for cancer? Maybe. But why not... why not me?
Keywords: #anythingcanbe, Anything Can Be, Utah Cancer Photographer, Utah Photographer, dream big, fight cancer
Well done the world is a better place with inspiratinal people like you helping us on our journey. With a 3yrd with cancer I Totaly get what has been written in your blogs and words of other parents going through hell that is cancer. Thankyou.
Love this post Jon. It is truly rare to find someone who cares so much that has not actually had a child with cancer. I know that when you look through that lens of yours, you are really seeing the bigger picture. I love what you are doing and you know I am here to help with whatever I can!
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