Views 84 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 12 - 6 - 2016 | By: Abby White
Love often seems too immense to capture. People create songs, movies, poems, and art pieces, all striving to capture the quintessential essence of what love means to them. A day that represents the most binding form of love is a wedding day. Andrea Stewart, a junior at Westmont, gets to capture the start of this journey, this promise, and this beginning of a new life of two people.
A professional wedding photographer, Andrea first picked up a camera in January of 2016. Only ever having used an iPhone camera, one morning she was taught how to use a camera by a friend, and just a few hours later did an engagement shoot. Casual.
“It was like picking up something that just made sense. I finally had a piece of equipment that could match what my eyes saw; it was the most magical and surreal thing,” Andrea says, commenting on her first experience with a camera.
This was just the beginning of the magic, and the beginning of the doors that God would open.
“The next thing I knew, after the first shoot, I ended up starting my business the next day, and then days later, started getting inquiries for the summer. Abundance is the only way I can explain it. It was so abundance and provision from the Lord; like Him expressing and calling out that, ‘This is something that you’re supposed to be doing.’”
Her photography business has become a ministry. As she takes pictures, the Lord works through her and she is able to encourage people in ways that is only through His power and insight. The couples begin to let their guards down as the camera clicks away, with insecurities and fear clicking away with each flash.
“Every time I pick up my camera, I see miracles happen,” Andrea says, “People step in front of my camera and I feel this discernment to say certain things and then I start seeing them let down their walls. These walls start crumbling in front of me and then you see people become who they are made to be. It’s been the most beautiful process to see people fully alive and to see the glory be reached.”
Becoming fully alive in a world full of facade and pretense is challenging. Even having one’s picture taken can bring about stress and insecurities. But the art of loving someone fully and loving yourself fully, amidst the flaws, is life-giving.
A lot of the couples that Andrea works with are Christians and share radical stories of the work God has done in their lives. However, with the couples that don’t know the Lord, she has shared Jesus with them, because there is no other way for her to explain her story and her business without bringing in the One who deserves the credit.
After sharing her story with one couple, God worked through her to lead them to Christ. After the couple’s wedding, they got baptized and re-dedicated their relationship to the Lord. This is just one of the miracles that God has done through Andrea’s business and can do through anyone.
You might be thinking, how can it be possible to be an on-site photographer and a student simultaneously? This is not an easy task. Juggling the two takes a lot of discernment and time management. Between driving to and from the airport on weekends, getting back from trips just in time to make it to an 8 a.m., and eating more than her fair share of airport food, it’s been a wild ride for Andrea.
“My biggest thing is, don’t feel limited by reality. Literally do not be limited by the facts and circumstances that surround you, because I never in a million years would have asked for this nor may have ever dreamt of it,” says Andrea. “It’s so cool to get to do something that seems totally wild and out of touch and to just like go for it, unabashedly, unashamedly; drop everything in your hands that’s holding you back from it, and to literally just chase calling and to do it with your whole entire being.”
Gifting and calling look different for everyone, and one of Andrea’s gifts just happens to be photography. During a shoot with Andrea, when the walls of the couple come down and Jesus steps in, love in its purest form is captured.