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  • When asked to write about a photograph that means something to me, I struggle at first. As a photographer, most of my pictures mean something. Otherwise, I would not waste the effort to tote out my camera, to frame a moment, to look in to someone’s eyes and, for the best ones, to make a soul connection. You know it when you are on to something special because you can feel it from the ground up in your toes until it catches in your throat and hooks your breath.

    Ultimately, I choose Naya on the occasion of her 6th birthday. In this one, she does all the work really. She looks directly in my eyes and dares me to meet her on her level. She knows that she is stunning. No one has to tell her. Naya has marshaled all of her resources and engaged every attendant in her kingdom. She is regal in her jewels and countenance, and we all pay her homage, bearing gifts.

    We are inspired first by her tiara, with its rare blue fur and diamonds, casting light and favor wherever she turns. We marvel at her favorite sequined dress with the flawless bow cinching her tiny waist. No one will forget the black suede boots that kiss her knees and lift her closer to the gods. Her smile is enigmatic, like Mona Lisa, but it is her eyes that I want to honor. She is on this day picture-perfect, and I love the fact that she knows it. May she remember this magical moment-- where courage, understanding and beauty meet-- all the days of her life.

    Just in case, I resolve to give this picture back to her. So that when time and fate start to play their devilish tricks, she can hold it like a compass and retrace her steps to this soulful place and embrace herself, tenderly, with love.
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