Of Lands Far, Near, and Dear

Hey there, beautiful soul!

So it’s been awhile since I properly introduced myself, and maybe I've never told you what I do behind this camera of mine, nor why I do it!  So allow me to jump into that little pond with you for a minute.

I'm Lauren, a Tennessee-turned-Florida girl in her mid-forties, living for the promise of holiness and sweetness in life now and forever.

Sounds lofty, I know — but really it’s quite simple. It’s all about beautiful memories and inklings of beautiful things hidden deeper within.

My fondest memories are from my childhood:

Climbing our cherry tree, library book in hand (Nancy Drew or a collection of fairytales), young mind bent on nestling in the perfect little crook of branches to drown in another world while snacking on fresh cherries within arms reach.

Donning my Gran’s red chiffon nightgown-turned-princess-gown, and taking off in bare feet through the corn field out behind my grandparents’ house, running from the evil dragon chasing me, winding through sharp corn stalks slapping against my little legs, toes in the loamy mountain soil, knotted hair brushing against silks, the wind whispering through the ripening field.

Curling into a tiny little ball and sinking beneath the surface of a swimming pool, the sounds of “above” turning into a water-muffled magic of distant voices and “Walkin’ on Sunshine” played over the public speaker, uncoiling to dive deeper, to touch the bottom, my legs suddenly becoming a mermaid’s tail, and the water around me widening to an imagined ocean.

Wanna know a funny thing I’ve realized about being an adult? It is this: my fondest adult memories are a lot like my childhood ones:

Riding a rollercoaster at Walt Disney World, sunlight on my skin, wind in my face, the squeals of delight on the lips of my daughter sitting beside me, feeling euphoric in this shared thrill of madness and wonder, speed and contentment.

Prayers over a family meal, expressing gratitude for all that is before me in life, this shared meal, this family with whom I share it, this land of freedom and place of grace and purpose in an existence of mystery and heartbreak, feeling sweetness and hardness in equal measure.

Holding my Love’s hand in a movie theatre, watching a story unfold in the dark, knowing he knows why tears well in my eyes at the beauty of the film, at the music, at the feelings of shared understanding between myself and the people on the screen.

They’re all moments of happiness, suffused with a longing for something Bigger and grander than my frail human existence. The memories and dreams of my childhood are as real as the memories and dreams I have now, some 30+ years later. I imagine that will never change; I hope it doesn’t anyway. I hope I never lose that magic in my bones.

So what on earth does any of this have to do with my Nikon camera and ever-evolving knowledge of editing techniques? Well, the only answer I have is this: it’s my way of sharing my world with you.

Because deep down, even though our stories are different and our memories aren’t at all the same —

they are exactly the same

all of it

There’s something in me that is in you — and when I’m able to create a beautiful image that taps into that Something in you, mingled with that Something in me, and mold it into that Something found in everyone else —

it’s pure magic

And I live for that. Connecting with you, connecting with others, all of us in on this shared secret of mystery and wonder all around us.

So that’s the soul in me, reaching out to the soul in you. Howdy, new friend. It’s nice to meet you.


Lauren BensonComment