There are long periods of time where I question every single image I produce. I wonder if I am trying too hard to fit in a genre that maybe I just don’t quite understand. I wonder if other people even understand what I do. I wonder how well it will be perceived in a world so full of filters and skewed versions of reality. But last night was different. In a small airport containing row after row of fluorescent lighting and a handful of toddlers on the move, my heart reminded me why I love this job so deeply.

I’ve documented this family’s growth as Anthony was deployed over the course of the last year. Being in this small space with them last night was important to me in a way that welcoming one of my own family members home would be. Being able to document their first embrace after a year away from each other was the smallest gift I could give this woman that I admire so very much.

We waited, my heart pounding as the anticipation grew for them, children laughing and running while adults watched the arrival time on the screens behind check in change a few times before Anthony’s plane finally touched down. The family gathered by the large window to watch for his tan boots and uniform, and after three very drawn out minutes, they spotted him. Liam, their oldest son, could not remain contained in his grandmother’s arms and ran towards the door to greet his dad. “My daddy”, he repeated over and over in disbelief.

And I cried. I cried because I was happy. I cried because I feel lucky to experience moments like this. I cried because I really love my job. Being able to document moments like these is an honor.