An idyllic landscape surrounds this all-star runner and old soul…
I first met Ben seven years ago, during his brother Nathaniel’s senior portrait session. I have now officially photographed all four of the Byers boys: Phillip, Nathaniel, Luke & Ben. It has been such an interesting experience for me to see both how similar and how different each of them are. This is Ben’s turn in the spotlight!
Ben is a people person– friendly, likable and kind. He had just been chosen by his classmates to be the “king” at the winter formal. He enjoys running and spending time on his family’s farm and the surrounding land, especially the mountains and stream.
Ben shared, “I’ve been running for six years now, and absolutely love it. I’ve spent a good amount of my time in high school running cross country and track for sure.”
There was firewood stacked in the corner of the yard and I thought it provided an interesting backdrop. Ben dove deeper.
He said, “I’ve split wood many a time and that is a type of hard work that brings greater appreciation to the fruits of labor.”
I can envision Ben’s dad saying this for sure, but Ben is an old soul himself, and a deep thinker…
Ben told me that having bright running shoes was a “thing,” the crazier the color the better. I noticed how the vibrant gold color seemed to match the yellow line on the road.
I captured his movement here, using a slow shutter speed.
At the end of a long dirt road, farms and mountains in the distance, a typical running spot for him.
Ben shared, “Funny story, in my middle school years I ventured out in the woods that borders our home at dusk. After taking about five steps into the woods, I heard a voice saying, “What are ya doin’, boy?” when I apologized the voice said, “You’re ruining our hunt, boy!”
Ben laughed, “I bolted out of the woods as fast as I could, most likely setting a new personal best in the 400-meter dash. The roots in the field digging into my bare feet as I zoomed past. I didn’t stop until I reached the front door. As I walked inside I smelled the soup my mom was cooking, thinking that the kitchen table was the best place to enjoy the last few minutes of daylight.”
I slowed the speed of my shutter, panning along at Ben’s pace as he ran towards the woods this time, haha.
Here Ben’s trombone sits in the living room on the family piano. Ben’s family is a musical one, and Ben is no exception.
He shared, “Elanor Rigby was one of my favorite songs from marching band.”
He picked it up and started to play. I noticed the reflection in his family’s china cabinet and the vibrant blue of the sky and fellow of the field silhouetting Ben.
Ben is friendly and smiles and laughs often. He is a joy to be around. I caught him here mid-laugh.
There is something so timeless about Ben. Like you could be talking to someone from 1940 or even 1700… I felt like this timeless look combined with his genuine expression hit a good note.
Ben shared, “All of my brothers have had there senior pictures done by you. I was always impressed with your work and knew that you were my number one choice for my photographs. You are excellent at balancing the subject of the shoot with integrating the beauty of the environment around them, creating something far more beautiful than either one or the other. That’s why I mentioned wanting views of mountains, streams, and nature, because I knew that you can really work with the potential in those environments to create the best photos.”
He smiled “At the end of the day I know these photos are supposed to be about me, but I’d also like the beauty of my home that I love so much and God’s creation to shine.”
This shot shows the mountains and woods and open fields behind his home, but also captures Ben and his cat as well as something that is more emotional. As the sun streamed in my lens, it hit just right to light him up– to me, it expresses his heart and soul, the depth of who he is.
Ben shared, “I was born and raised living in this house and on this property. Much of my life can be traced to these few acres.”
He continued,” Rural living has always been ideal to me, the serenity is unmatched by any other setting. It’s simple.”
That simplicity is so beautiful…
I was trying to get all creative here, check out the cat photo bomb, haha:
I think this is the perfect “senior photo.” I love seeing the wood in the background symbolizing “hard work” and “simplicity” per Ben’s earlier comments.
As the sun got lower in the sky interesting colors started to appear, here I shot through the fence to add a little visual interest.
Ben explained, “The stream has always been a great part of our property. I remember venturing with my brothers down the stream barefoot for what seemed miles just for the sake of exploring the stream together and expanding our imaginations.”
He was game to run, for sure…
He shared, “The mountains are the greatest source of scenic beauty anywhere, they tower over everything else, so powerful and abounding., yet the gentleness with which they rest seems almost as though they are full of hidden wisdom and untold stories.”
He added, introspectively, “Nothing else brings someone as close to the elements as running through them. It shows how much the body can do, and also how weak the body is as you run by trees that will outlive you and your children by just standing strong.”
As the sun set fully, a cloud formation seemed to frame Ben as he ran, so I snapped this shot right when he was in the center of it.