It's happened about a half-dozen times since I started teaching The Photographers' Workshop - that during the first couple weeks of class I'd spot a student and immediately tell my husband, "I guarantee that this student is going to be a better photographer than I am in a year."
And I don't mean that in a self-deprecating way - I simply mean that all photographers have a certain amount of natural talent and that while (as their instructor) I might have a larger foundation of knowledge, as soon as their foundation of knowledge grows, their natural talent will allow them to surpass me.
And I'd be lying if I said that doesn't bother me a bit sometimes, but for the most part, it just makes me happy for them and makes me want to email them to share my thoughts.
And though their response is typically excitement and disbelief, I've yet to be wrong and each of those students has eventually become a knock-your-socks-off photographer.
Rachel Chaney was the first student I ever had this happen with, and I think it was an image of her son, Carter (looking at a turtle he had found along a path) she had posted for evaluation that solidified it for me.
And over the years, Rachel has just periodically shot off emails to me with photos attached and a note that usually says something like, "I don't need a response, I just wanted to show you these images and wanted to thank you."
And as her talent progressed, I found myself looking at those images with awe and respect and happiness (and an occassional twinge of jealousy) for her.
And then a few months back while we were exchanging emails, I said, "One of these days, I'd love to either fly out to Texas to visit and shoot with you or have you fly out here to do the same."
And last weekend, we made that happen - Rachel Chaney came to visit me and my family here in Oregon.
And high on her (very organized) 'to-do' list was bio shots...
Will post more details about our time together, but I just wanted to share these for now. (That last one is my favorite.)
And Rachel Chaney...I have to tell you that Annie was sitting on my lap this morning while I was editing these images of you and she said, "I love looking at pictures of Rachel, I just miss her so much already."