Last year I got to do a portrait session with my good friend Austin Trotman.
Austin and I wrestled together during our undergraduate campaigns at Appalachian State University.
In 2012, Austin defeated the #1, #2 and #3 nationally ranked wrestlers at the NCAA D1 wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.
During my graduate program at Appalachian State University I chose him my subject for a year long documentary project I did.
This was by far the most extensive project that I have done with the exception of my self portrait project. I remember struggling through the processes of creating a documentary as well as knowing nothing about video, editing, lighting or story-telling.
I also remember the feeling of finishing the video, sharing it and seeing the huge impact it had on the community of "wrestling".
I had no idea that Austin's story (or the way I told it) would create an emotional reaction like it did in people.
To this day when I am at wrestling events I meet people who thank me for making this piece. At the time I thought it was because of my "amazing documentary video skills".
Not so (as you will see when you watch it).
It was actually because it gave people a small amount of hope.
LESSON LEARNED: My inability to make perfect art is not important. It's how humans react to it that is important.