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I Didn't Know What to Say

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I Didn't Know What to Say

The night before my 27th birthday, my husband and son took me out to dinner here in Greenville. It was nothing fancy; each year my wish is pretty much the same-- I want to have a full belly of comfort food without having to cook it myself.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

 

We indulged in a few appetizers, my entree of a ginger-crusted salmon with a side of wasabi mashed potatoes (thank you, Yard House...this is my go-to order now), and had just received my complimentary birthday dessert when I got the call.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

 

It was my grandmother. I quickly answered as I figured she was calling to wish me an early birthday. Instead, I learned that my godmother had suffered a fatal heart attack.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

 

“WHO?!”

 

She repeated herself then encouraged me to call my godbrother who was apparently with her during the time of her passing.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

 

I was stunned myself. I didn’t know what to say. But I called him anyway. And I just couldn’t believe how he even had the capacity to answer the phone to confirm what had happened.

 

The rest of the weekend and the days following I tried to process what happened. I still ride around in my car asking questioning whether she’s really gone. I didn’t understand it then and today is not much different.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

 

Because I didn’t have the words to vocalize or even journal to share how I was feeling, I decided to take some self portraits.  A year later, I can still look back and remember that initial feeling of both disbelief and surrealism. And I realize that although I may never understand why my godmother left us so suddenly, I do have a photographs I took of her even those smartphone selfies we took together that help me remember her smile, her side eyes, and her voice.

Monica A. Young

1970-2017

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

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Personal Reflections: Mind, Body, and Soul

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Personal Reflections: Mind, Body, and Soul

Body

In November of last year, I underwent a surgical procedure called a microdiscectomy. For over a year I’d walked through life in pain, discomfort, and pressured sciatic nerve due to a herniated disc.

After my symptoms started I tried as many conservative methods as possible: chiropractic, physical therapy (twice), and  steroid injections. Most provided temporary relief, but my body was really communicating that there was a much bigger issue that just being band-aided. Surgery was my last resort, but proved to be much more effective.

During the time I was managing my pain, I also took up yoga. My friend Jamie is the creator or Black Girls Guide to Calm and I’d show up to her Mind, Body, and Soul yoga sessions at Legacy Park on Sunday mornings. I left each session feeling calm, refreshed, and at peace. Sometimes after yoga, we’d go for brunch which was also a good excuse for some quality girl time.

Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

Mind

This led me to spending more time at yoga, picking up meditation, and tapping into a journey of self-discovery of mind, body, and soul.

After my injury, I decided that I would no longer put my body on mute whenever it tried to tell me something. I really can’t afford to after undergoing surgery anyway. My mind? Well, we are still a work in progress. I often find that my thoughts get stuck up there, adding to the confusion. It’s helped that I’ve picked up journaling again and am entrusting those intimate thoughts and feelings to my husband and closest friends to help me sort through them.

My soul is finding joy in this process. There was a point where I wanted to completely give up wedding photography. I was afraid, of course, that I might re-injure myself (there’s a 15% chance of re-herniation even though I wasn’t doing anything wedding-related to injure myself. But I’m back on the grind (read: playing catch up)  in hopes that I’ll see another successful year with even more clients that make me love this job even more.

 

* Latoya

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Mudmageddon 2016 | Latoya Dixon Photography

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Mudmageddon 2016 | Latoya Dixon Photography

It came and it went. The snow "storm" that grazed Greenville, SC has finally all melted away.  At least for my 3 year-old-son, Kent, it was enough to run around in and watch his footsteps melt behind him.

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

It wasn't the snow that got me this past weekend though, it was mud. 

My friend  and co-founder of The Queen PhotograpHERs of SC, Sierra and I ventured out to an area nearby my house to capture the ethereal, cold, white stuff around a quaint, little pond.  We drove to the property and were first met by the barks of two dogs.  We got out of the car and tried to plan how we'd pass through the lot to get to the pond, but our fear of the unknown with the protective dogs outweighed our interest in choosing that path.  We set back in our cars to get a little closer.

We noticed that the pond and the seating areas around it were fenced off. Driving by, we saw a lightly trodden path, just behind it. We turned off into the path to see if we could get a bit closer.  Unfortunately, that was also a fail and we decided to go to a less complicated location. 

I lead the way out of a muddy lower bank, only to have my wheels spin, digging into more muck. 

"Are you stuck," Sierra asked me.

"*sigh* Yes."

My car, stuck in the muck!

My car, stuck in the muck!

I was hoping that she, in her Jeep, had much better luck than I did with my Sonata. No cigar. The two of us were stuck on someone else's property, just waiting to be found out. We both kept trying to get out, only to slide back into the mud. I'd called my husband to come and help, hoping he could coach us out. I ran up to the road when I saw his car and along came a 4x4 pickup who stopped and asked if we were stuck.

Stopping the traffic behind him, he grabbed some slings from the back of his truck, preparing to try to pull us out. *HALLELUJAH* During this time, another 4x4, coming from the opposite direction also stopped and asked if he needed help. He then parked his truck and got out. BOTH LANES WERE NOW STOPPED WITH AT LEAST 5 CARS BEHIND EACH TRUCK! While I was thankful, I was also embarrassed. I could only think of the other drivers who were being held up for a driver's lapse of judgement. Man, I've never been so thankful and embarrassed all at once.

About 10 minutes (at least it seemed that long anyway) into rigging and digging, my car was the first to be pulled out of the mud. Sierra soon followed out. Traffic had backed up so bad that once both cars were back on the main road, everyone cleared almost instantly.  We didn't get to properly thank the two men who helped us.  I've shared the story on several local Facebook groups, in hopes that we will someday (hopefully soon) be able to show our gratitude.

In the meantime, I will carefully survey an area before I decide to drive my car though. But make no mistake about it, the shot will always be worth it, so I'll continue to scout new locations for you guys! ;)


xoxo,

Latoya 

Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

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QPSC Vision Board Party | Latoya Dixon Photography

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QPSC Vision Board Party | Latoya Dixon Photography

So, I've made the declaration that I'm going to enter the wedding industry as a photographer. *clap, clap* Now what?  Time to set some goals and put my money where my mouth is. 

Now would be a great time to introduce a group that my friend Sierra & I founded, The Queen PhotograpHERs of SC (QPSC).  QPSC is a community of talented women of color photographers who operate primarily in the state of South Carolina.  We are a network and a sisterhood, providing each other with support, resources, and advice as it pertains to various aspects of being in the photography industry.  I decided to host a vision board party for the QPSC members who reside in the Upstate.

Many of us had met before, but we did have one new member to join us for the first time (hey Jean!). Buried under a sea of magazines, glue sticks, and scissors, we scoured the pages of O Magazine, Range Finder Magazine, Parent & Child, & more. Not only was this time for us to visualize our photography goals, but a moment to reflect on the personal ones as well.  

What I appreciated most was the bonding time I got to have with the ladies.  We shared many laughs together and got deep about some of our most frustrating struggles.

Latoya Dixon Photography Queen Photographers of SC QPSC
Latoya Dixon Photography Queen Photographers of SC QPSC
Latoya Dixon Photography Queen Photographers of SC QPSC
Latoya Dixon Photography Queen Photographers of SC QPSC
Latoya Dixon Photography Queen Photographers of SC QPSC

Here's a recap of the night's events (video courtesy of SierraC Photography. Cheers to 2016, Ladies!


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