Monthly Archives: December 2012

15 Faces #5 – “I Am A Bell Ringer”

15 Faces #5

The fifth Installment of 15 Faces put me in the presence of a man named Erik M.  My goal was to take a few images of a Salvation Army Bell Ringer.  I chose a bell ringer for two reasons; First, I love what they do and how they change lives by collecting money to assist others in their lives.  Second, I was curious as to why they do it.  Now, granted, I did only ask one person, but his answer was perfect.

He does it because they helped him when he needed a little help.  I don’t know his whole story, but, like all of us, he needed help and there was an organization to help him.  Now he rings a bell for the next person in need.  The loose change we put into the red kettles may seem seem insignificant, but by meeting Erik, I had the opportunity of meeting a person whose life was effected by the simple act of giving.  The eyes you look into when you see a person ringing the bell near a little red kettle may well have been a life you helped.  So enjoy the ringing as you enter a local store, it will change someone’s life!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Shawn Nielsen
Mobile. 612.750.2593
Studio. 763.498.7375
            “Tell Your Story”

15 Faces 3 & 4

15 Faces 3 and 4

Even though my goal for this blog series was to find 15 faces and to tell 15 idividual stories, this entry does not allow that.  Fred and Karen shared one story on this morning in Walker, Minnesota.  I will consider them entry 3 and 4 because sometimes there are faces that just belong together.  This story may best be told by my wife as she saw it unfold.

A few day s ago Shawn and I got away from the usual hustle and bustle of life. Often, when we go away we like to find the little café in town and have breakfast. Shawn was recalling a “greasy spoon” in Walker, Minnesota that had just the right atmosphere. So, off we went for pancakes, eggs, sausage and coffee for breakfast. As is typical, Shawn had his camera with him. Actually, he was hoping to find just the right local character in this quaint café to add to his 15 Faces series. When we entered, Shawn was immediately disappointed. It was not as quaint as he remembered. The walls had been “updated”, maybe in the 80’s. Oh well, maybe somewhere else in town he would find his next face. As we were finishing our breakfast, we overheard the waitress approach the patrons sitting in the both behind Shawn. She quietly asked them if they would pray for her step daughter who is struggling with drugs and single parenting. At that moment, Shawn new he had his next faces for this series. As far as we could tell, the folks dining did not know the waitress; they are from out of town. She had observed them doing a Bible study and took the step to ask for prayer

While it was awkward for Shawn  to interrupt Fred & Karen’s Bible study to take a few photos, he was honored to  capture this seasoned couple and the warmth they shared  that made the photos come alive.  He shared with me that he felt for a moment that his talents were second to the greatness of these people.  The study was named Grace by Max Lucado, and the excerpt Fred shared with Shawn  was about grace and the fact that every one of us needs it.

There are a few lessons to learn from this story.  One, do not judge a café by the color of its walls.  Stories are told no matter when the paint was “updated” .  Two,  be brave and ask for prayer.  Three, take the time to find to the stories all around you.

15 Faces #2

On Thursday I photographed Lana Little for the 2nd installment of 15 Faces.  She is a deeply thoughtful person.  I asked her how she sees herself.  She responded by stating that she is loyal and that she is excited about life.  Her mother Mary Jo was in my studio as well and shared how much that “loyalty” means to her.  I could see from watching Mary Jo that there was a special definition in the word “Loyalty”.  Maybe one that a mom only fully understands, or maybe a definition that is left in a “to be determined” stage.


15 Faces – #1

Well today I find myself in my studio beginning the journey of 15 Faces.  It is an exercise in “Telling a story” with a photograph of a person and a few words (my words may not be written well, but I will try to get the story across, so you’ll have to cut me some copywriter slack.  Some might be simplistic, some may be elaborate.  The guarantee is that they all will be beautiful people.  Maybe not what the world deems as beautiful, but beautiful in the sense that they are an awesome creation. The next 14 will take place in a myriad of settings and with regularity.


The journey begins with my daughter Bethany!




Bethany is an 8 year old, creative girl.  Her relatively untrained fingers play the piano almost as therapy for the stresses of her little life.  My world is changed because of her, never to be the same, always changing and flowing.  When I look at her eyes I wonder what those eyes will see, what will she experience.  How can I help her through what ever life’s struggles may be.  This first little girl I love with a daddy’s heart and tearfilled eyes!


To be continued…

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