Having just gone through all of the almost 800 pictures I took, I was reflecting on why I enjoy photographing this event so much: JOY.
These girls and their dads reflect so much joy during this evening. Sure they're having fun with their girlfriends, but you can also tell that they just love being there with their fathers.
Every year I think that these girls have to be some of the most beautiful girls around, but it isn't just the finery in which they are dressed, or their hair or makeup, it is the joy that radiates from within each of them: from youngest to oldest.
We all know crabby, unhappy people. You can see the tension on their faces. Their smiles are strained, their laughter not genuine. What a blessing it is to be surrounded, not by that kind of attitude, but by the smiles and sunshine that are present every year at this event.
I know most of these families and so I can say that even throughout the rest of the year they're pretty happy kids. This has to come from being part of a happy family, with happy parents. Now, don't get me wrong, I know nothing is perfect and we're all not whistling Dixie every day, but there has to be an underlying joy in the part of the parents and family that allows the joy to shine forth so much on special events such as this.
It really is inspiring to be around, and to photograph. It really reminds me how important it is to have that underlying joy in my life. If I can't be joyful then how can I pass that on to my children. I have known some crabby parents who manage to have joyful kids, but I think it would be much harder for those kids to overcome.
Again, joy doesn't mean that we're smiling through every bad thing that happens. It means that even in spite of all the bad, we know there is good in the world and that God is good and that He loves us, no matter what. That is joy and that is what I want to radiate and what I want my family to radiate. It is also what I love most about being a photographer: capturing that joy forever.