Tag Archives: malibu high school

Capturing the Imagination

Hillary Award Picture

Fiesta de la Trashumancia by Hillary Sturgeon

“I enjoy photography” is a better sentence, but it gives the impression that I understand something about the art, which I don’t, so I simply say, “I like taking pictures.”  That I have a decent eye for a good shot (and Instagram filters) provides some nice gets from time to time, but that’s about all I’ve got.

My youngest daughter, on the other hand, has long been light years ahead of me and can now claim that she is an award-winning photographer.

This is the eleventh year that the College of Arts & Sciences at Seattle University has hosted a photography competition titled, “Imagining the World,” and tomorrow night when this year’s exhibition opens in Kinsey Gallery, Hillary’s photograph, Fiesta de la Trashumancia, will be featured as the first-place award winner in the Study Abroad category.  I am sad to be 2500 miles away from the awards event, but I look forward to seeing the exhibit during graduation weekend since it will be on display in the gallery throughout the summer.  Hillary’s photograph will also be the cover photo for the book that is produced each year featuring all of the award-winning photographs.  I might be a little proud.

I credit our friend, Cecily, with planting the original photography seed in Hillary’s heart during her teenage years and then Malibu High School’s photography department for helping develop her talent (alongside Cecily).  Following high school, Hillary spent an entire summer in college as a photography intern in Kenya and obviously did not waste the opportunity to capture incredible moments while studying abroad in Spain.  Recently, she returned from a service trip to Mexico with some extraordinary photographs, too.

Imagining the world?  Yes, indeed.  I imagine there is more to come.

Hillary has not become a photographer by trade—yet, at least—and considers it a hobby, but unlike her proud dad, she knows what she is doing.  I like taking pictures, but Hillary enjoys photography.

image in spanish department

On Display in the Spanish Department (Seattle University)

 

Life with an Exclamation Mark

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I took this picture in a little house in South Mississippi thirteen years ago before my daughter Hillary’s first day of kindergarten at Magnolia Park Elementary. Three years later, Katrina did shameful things to that little house, but this picture survives and brings its own flood of memories.

Yesterday, Hillary graduated from Malibu High School, and I am a proud and thankful dad.

You may recognize me from the NA (“Nostalgics Anonymous”) meetings, but I am not a sad nostalgic. Instead of asking What happened to my little girl?, I choose to say Look what happened to my little girl! The punctuation is important. Approaching life with a joyful exclamation mark is preferable to a despondent question mark.

As a nostalgia-holic, I began rummaging through old computer files and stumbled across a journal entry from when Hillary was six years old:

Recently, I was snuggling up with Hillary on the couch, tickling her and playing, her infectious giggle in steady use. I said something about her being my angel, and then I feigned seriousness and asked her, “Are you an angel, or are you just a regular human being?” She giggled her honest response, “I don’t know.” After a moment of playful reflection, she added, “I feel like a regular human being.”

I’m still not convinced but am as proud today as ever.

Whatever the marker in life—from first days to last days and all the big days in between—I side with Viktor Frankl in saying that although Attitude is a required course in life, there are several from which we get to choose. Instead of weeping for days long gone or frustrated longing for days yet to come, I choose to celebrate life’s markers with wide-eyed wonder.

Look what happened to my little girl!

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