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Oregon, People

I think it’s only appropriate for my next picture to be of one of my childhood best friends, as I had the pleasure of attending her wedding this past weekend.

A few years ago I was taking my very first photojournalism class at university, and safe to say, it wasn’t going well. I was a writer working in a classroom everyday with talented photographers who had been spending the better part of their lives honing their craft. Meanwhile I barely knew how to handle a camera, much less the basic rules of photography. I put more hours into that class than any other in college, and yet—to my frustration—none of my projects seemed to show it.

About halfway through the term we needed to find a volunteer to be a subject for a portrait project. I decided to ask this childhood friend, Melissa, who now runs a popular local pub in Florence here on the Oregon Coast. Even though we hadn’t seen each other in a few years, and though she was incredibly busy running the family business, Mel graciously agreed to take a day and show me around her beautiful hometown while I continuously snapped pictures of her. She even agreed to have photos taken as she worked her shift at the bar.

The results of the shoot turned out to be the first decent grade I received in my photojournalism class, and more importantly, produced the first few pictures I actually felt somewhat proud of. I’ll always be grateful to Melissa for agreeing to that photo shoot because it was from that point on I would begin to actually enjoy photography as a hobby, which would eventually develop in one of my greatest passions.

This shot, taken at a lake near Melissa’s home, never got used for the portrait project but always remained one of my favorite photos from that day regardless.

Melissa still runs the Beachcomber pub in Florence with her family, and if you are ever visiting or just passing through I would highly recommend stopping for some good beer, excellent clam chowder and amazing people. I also want to wish her and her husband Ryan all the happiness in the world in the next chapter of their lives together.


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