Small Moments, Big Memories

A Blog post from Photographer, Grant Maginnis.

I am Grant Maginnis and I am a photographer. There are so many moments in a day that we overlook and take for granted. While taking pictures for an event I look for the moments that nobody else notices, but later become treasured. The best pictures I have taken were often at the most unremarkable times. Recently I brought a friend to tears when I mentioned my favorite photo from her wedding that I had taken 5 years before. The photo was of her grandparents sharing a dance together with so much love in their eyes. Her grandparents have recently passed away. This photo now hangs proudly in her home as a reminder of how much her grandparents meant to her. Never take life for granted, love the family you have been given, and make memories that will get you through the tough times in the future.

My favorite photos are not necessarily your favorite photos. I tend to look at an image differently and associate it with my own life. Being a photographer comes with honor and responsibility in my opinion. Someone is trusting me to capture their family in time. This family will look back and remember life at that time because of my photos.

Billy Johnson

Taking photos for Dream On 3 really is a dream come true for me because of kids like Billy. I never want to take pictures for the money, but because of how my photos impact lives. Billy is a special 7-year-old that has gone through more in his short life than I have in my 30 years. In my short time with Billy, you would never know that he was sick. It doesn’t matter if Billy remembers my name or who I was that weekend, because I will always remember his name.

Billy is a huge University of Alabama Football fan. Luckily, the Carolina Panthers have a few former players and a former head coach on staff. This dream was quickly put together because of Billy going into first grade and training camp for the Panthers coming to a close. We were planning to meet Roman Harper, who played four years for the Crimson Tide, before being drafted by the Saints in 2006. The other was Mike Shula who coached Alabama from 2003-2006. Both men really made Billy and his family feel special.

Billy would often look at me in photos when I was far away from him, something that 7-year-old children don’t do as they live their busy lives. Over the two days there were moments that he stopped, and like a little adult, stared at me with no expression. Most people would have overlooked these photos, but they hit me hard. Often, I will over romanticize or over think a photo. To me this was Billy saying “Thank you, I won’t forget you”. Would anyone else look at this photo and think this? I doubt it, but in the days I spent with Billy he became a very special guy to me.

Billy is 7, but because of the health battles he has gone through, he is small. I tried to show his size in the photos. This was taken in The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte. I was laying down on the ground to get the angle and without even acknowledging my odd position, Billy asked if I had ever been in that building, Bank of America Corporate Center. He never asked about my camera or why I was taking his pictures, but he was concerned what college football team had my allegiance.

Billy is a very special little guy who I wish I could see more often. He has had a rough start to life but I pray that it does get better for him. Regardless of what I do in my career, my time with kids like Billy will always be the most treasured. Be thankful for your health. Never take the time you have on this planet for granted, and know that you are loved. Thank you Billy, for touching my life in ways you could never imagine. I will carry the memory of these two scorching summer days, but very special days, with me for the rest of my life.

Learn more about Dream Kid Billy and his Carolina Panthers Dream here.