Making Memories By inSpire with Ron Pollard

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We asked Ronald Pollard about his love for photography and the impact it has had on his life.

inSpire - Ron, as a pastor, and now a university chaplain, you are passionate about ministry, but you also have a passion for photography. Tell us when you got your first camera and why you are still excited about photography today.

Pollard - I got my first camera as a young teen--around 13 or so. But before that my oldest brother, Sidney, introduced me to photography as a 5 year-old. I remember him coming home after military service with these "frozen memories" on paper, and that launched my excitement for photography. I was fascinated with the ability to make memories visually viewable. And from that moment on I was passionate about photography.

inSpire - So, when you got your first camera, what did you take photos of. Do you remember?

Pollard - I took pictures of people in the streets of Gretna, Louisiana. It was a stormy afternoon (seemed like it was always about to rain in Louisiana) People were running inside to get out of the storm, and I took pictures of them.

inSpire - A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and now you have a more expensive cameras and you take beautiful photos of places, animals and people. Please be patient with me for a moment. Why do you keep taking photos? I'm trying to understand what makes Ron Pollard pick up his camera and shoot.

Pollard - What makes Ron Pollard pick up his camera and shoot?

(A) Love! - I absolutely love what I do as a photojournalist.

(B) Inspiration! - I am inspired by the grandeur of moments that will forever live in stills. That grandeur could be a sunset, an animal crossing the mara, a love scene between a couple, the joy of a wedding day!

(C) Calling! - I can do no less than record what I see in the lives of others. I am sooo filled with satisfaction when I am used of God to recreate a time or a moment that can never be duplicated again.

(D) Joy! - I am caught up in the joy of making memories. Dr. Benjamin Reaves' statement (he was one of my professors) lives in my soul daily. "The only thing we can leave for our children and loved ones are memories" That is what photojournalism does.

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inSpire - You take all kind of photographs that include various subjects, but you seem to thrive on taking photographs of people--and you do it well.

Pollard - As a portrait photographer, I really look to capture the glint or that little light in the soul of my subject. I try to do this by spending time researching their background, their life experience, and their favorites in food, music, color of clothes, and the list goes on. Actually before any session we have spent almost a day or two together just becoming familiar with each other so that we become friends. Most times that means they meet my family so that they realize we are in this together. On the front-end of any session it is more important to over prepare my client and exceed their expectations.

What I do is sacred! Sacred, meaning that this is God's person or His creation that I am now preparing to photograph. Therefore, I need to prepare all my equipment so that I eliminate as much uncertainty as possible. I need to prepare my friends by letting them know their decision to use my gifts is a sacred trust to me.

I do like making friends with the people I photograph, so I don't refer to them as clients. I always pray for, and hope to develop a relationship with them that allows for us to be able to pray together and share the love of God together. 

inSpire - That's great! Is there anything you want to say to other Adventist photographers who might be reading this?

Pollard - It is a God driven privilege to be entrusted with the opportunity to be a part of the lives of parents, brides, students, and youth. It is sacred to capture the beauty of moments that last a lifetime.

inSpire - Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images with us.

Visit Ronald Pollard online

This interview was conducted by Rich DuBose, Director of Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services and the inSpire project. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.