This past weekend, I had the chance to photograph an Xtreme Fitness with Phil event at The Gym in Jourdanton. In addition to seniors and weddings, I always love to photograph athletes!! Athletes will always have a special place in my heart. [Click here to see all the images from the Xtreme Hip Hop.]
I’ve recited this story before, but I’ll tell it again.
I can definitively say there are two events that spring-boarded my interest in photography: my experience in high school athletics and living through the deaths of my sister and mom and barely being 21-years-old. I am going to elaborate on the first.
By most standards, I grew up in a financially poor family. My dad hunted to put meat on our table. We shopped for clothes once a year and couldn’t afford much. We got only one new pair of shoes each year. Our homes and furniture always belonged to someone else before they belonged to us. Sometimes my parents shared a single vehicle, but nonetheless, it was never new and shiny. We were farmers and ranchers—blue collar workers. We lived in the country in a trailer house. It wasn’t even a double-wide.
We didn’t have money attached to our last name. Instantly, I was unpopular in school. Sometimes, it was even hard to get the other poor kids to like me.
But in 7th grade… I noticed a minuscule difference. I started to play sports. This wasn’t work. It was fun!!! It wasn’t at all like hoeing corn, bailing hay, butchering chickens or building barbed-wire fences. I played anything and everything I could. I had balance, strength, coordination and discipline. And I noticed that I had enormous determination and self-motivation. I could will myself to work really, really hard. I could almost ignore my body telling me to quit.
But most importantly… I started to have friends AND confidence. Athletics gave me that.
The icing on the cake was seeing an action image of myself in the paper or school yearbook. It froze time for me. Within that camera shutter, I could see all the balance, strength, coordination, discipline, determination and self-motivation come together. For an instant, the memory of my sister’s death was dimmed… the pain of being a teenage, abused girlfriend was overshadowed… the stigma of having a mother with mental illness was blurred… the discomfort of being poor was concealed. The image was miraculous. I was empowered.
I also had the added benefit of having coaches who could also nurture this newly-found confidence. All throughout high school, I loved competing with my teammates. I enjoyed performing for my coaches. I thrived on pushing myself to new limits.
When my own children started to play sports, I wanted to be able to empower them in this same way. I wanted to give them the gift of confidence. I wanted them to see an image of themselves and see strength, discipline and determination. And I wanted the magical powers of the image to be able to safely remove them from whatever challenges they were facing.
Empowering the Athlete in Still Images
I’m convinced that my experience in high school would have been much different had it not been for athletics. And had it not been for still images, I might not have enjoyed athletics so much.
When I take sporting images, my main goal is to always empower the athlete! No one knows all the handicaps one is facing. No one understands the stumbling blocks in another’s life. No one comprehends every hardship that even their best friend takes on. But this I do know! I do know that when my image depicts someone in a very powerful, deliberate, and unfaltering light, it has the power to be a catalyst to grow someone’s confidence and empower them! Maybe, it can even change their life. I KNOW this.
Here are some of my favorite images from the Xtreme Hip Hop Step class. Please enjoy the video. For the best quality, be sure to change the video player settings to 1080 HD.
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
I am a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
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