Ariana's Photos

Written by Christopher Crawford

At the beginning of September, 2017 an old friend's daughter, Ariana Thompson, asked me if I would look at some photos she had taken and help her improve them.

Ariana was 20 years old, the same age as my son. She has been in very poor health for several years, having been diagnosed with Lupus, a rare autoimmune disorder, when she was a teenager. She began to have an interest in photography as a hobby, in order to have something fun to do on the days when she feels well.

She was using the camera in her smartphone, and the photos suffered from the terrible technical quality that cellphone cameras (aside from high-end ones like the iPhone) produce. She has very little income, and could not have bought even an inexpensive camera herself, so I told her she could have an old 5mp digital point and shoot camera that I had gathering dust on my shelf. It is an old one but produces FAR better photos than her phone did.

She came over and I showed her how to use the camera. She was excited about it, and a couple days later had some photos to show me. She had never taken pictures with a real camera in her life, but she had made several really good photographs!

She is especially interested in bugs, spiders, plants, and other nature subjects.

About a week after I gave Ariana that old digital camera, I was talking to Steve R., a photographer who had asked me for some technical advice. I mentioned that I was mentoring Ariana and had given her an old point-n-shoot camera to use. He said; "I have a lot of cameras, film and digital, sitting around. If she wants one, I'll find a camera and lens for her."

Steve sent me a Canon digital SLR that looked like it had never been used and a 17-135mm zoom lens! Ariana was so excited about the DSLR that she was at my house the day the mailman was supposed to bring it. I had the batteries charged and ready to go before she got here, and I showed her the basics of how to use it. She immediately went out in my yard and began photographing the flowers.

She was amazed that someone she didn't know (and someone I had never met in person) would be so kind and generous. The photography community is full of many wonderful people like that!

The photos below are some of the first photos that Ariana made with the DSLR that Steve sent her, made during the first three days that she had it in her hands! She has a real talent, and I'm happy that I could help her start her journey, and we are both deeply appreciative of Steve's incredible gift to her.


Purple flowers


Monarch butterfly on a goldenrod flower.