Tag Archives: portraits

Carsie Denning for The Record

In my first week back working with The Daily Record I had the opportunity to interview and photograph Carsie Denning. Mr. Denning is a World War II veteran who recently published a memoir documenting the special project he worked on during the war years.

I love working with WWII veterans! It’s a stereotype, I know, but all of the veterans from that era I have had the opportunity to meet during my time at The Record and The Sanford Herald have just been incredible, multi-faceted men who have worked hard to make the most of every opportunity they’ve had. Mr. Denning is no exception. In high school, he picked up an interest in electronics and photography, setting up a full dark room in his parents’ home. He worked as a shipyard electrician before enlisting in the Army and participating in this unique project. After the war, he worked in Military Intelligence at the Pentagon, then moved to Denver to be near his wife who was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. When she was transferred to a hospital in Richmond, he returned to Washington for a short while before leaving the military to work with the North Carolina prison system. He later took a job as an electrical engineer for the Department of Public Instruction and ended up retiring as assistant controller. After that long career of public service, Mr. Denning started his own company and worked another two decades before retiring for good. In the past year, he has published two books, married Jenny (his first wife, Mary, died several years ago) and worked hard to recover full mobility and speech after suffering a stroke. I enjoyed getting to know just a little bit about his fascinating life during the hours we had together.





Getting Our Feet Wet

[audio:https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/baptism-17.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/09/Psalm-147_12.mp3|titles=Psalm 147:12]



Today, September 16, 2010, was a very special day for me.

This morning just before 11 o’clock, with a handful of my friends looking on, I was baptized in the tradition of my faith.

Then, before I had time to really process the moment, I was baptized again.

And again.


Hopefully persistence counts for something.

The scene might have been a little odd to passersby, but it was a great experience for me and my fellow Divinity School students. Understanding the purpose and practice of baptism is included in the curriculum for our Life and Work of the Minister course, and practicing baptism means getting in the water.

The mission statement of Campbell Divinity School is “to provide Christ-centered, Bible-based, and Ministry-focused theological education.” These three elements are represented, to some extent, in every course the school offers, but the three-fold purpose also guides, in a larger perspective, the multi-facted approach of the entire Master of Divinity program. Most of the courses required for the M.Div. degree can be classified as either a spiritual development course, a course in classical theological education, or as a practical, vocation-driven course. Balancing these three aspects of theological education really allows students to grow spiritually and academically as they work to discern God’s call on their lives, and it is something Campbell does very well.

It’s amazing how my experiences in and outside of the classroom continue to build on each other. Just last week, in Church History I, our discussion was focused on the baptismal practices of the early church. Very quickly in the life of the early church, baptism became such an important part of the spiritual development process that a waiting period of at least three years was implemented for catechumens in order to give them sufficient time to contemplate their own faith experiences and develop healthy practices of discipleship that would allow them to contribute to the church once they became full members. Understanding this influenced our discussion on the spirituality and theology of baptism in Life and Work of the Minister. With this discussion still fresh on our minds this morning, we waded into the water to practice the practical aspects of baptism before we are called on to lead a formal baptismal service. The M.Div. degree at Campbell is really almost like three degrees in one — and at 90 hours, it often feels like enough work to earn three separate masters degrees — but there isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life.

Having professors and peers that I know are genuinely concerned about my spiritual growth is an indescribable blessing. Having courses that keep me challenged academically makes every day fresh and exciting. And besides, where else could I go to get my feet wet, knowing all the while that a quick hand is there to catch me if I slip off into rough water?












Summer Vacation








Two Wallaces on Sherry Hill

Congrats guys.
Thanks for letting us be a part of your big day, and for being a big part of our lives.











Bath Day

The last remnant of Samuel’s umbilical cord finally fell off on Wednesday, which means he got to have his first real bath. No more sponge baths and warm-water massages. He was a little hesitant at first, but he took the plunge and liked it.

I am way behind on pictures, and even more behind on work, so I’m just going to let you sort through these for now. Click a thumbnail to open the viewer, browse through at your own pace and enjoy. If you’re feeling really adventurous, start up some theme music before diving into the pictures.

[audio:https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/samuel-in-june8.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/06/Splish-Splash-I-was-Taking-a-Bath.mp3|titles=Splish Splash|artists=Bobby Darren|loop=yes]


Just based on the photographic record, it would be easy to wonder where I have been during Samuel's first few weeks. Kristen took this shot to help create a semblance of my presence.

Goodberry's is Good Medicine

There is so much on my mind. So much to say, and so much to do, but then I look at Samuel and everything else seems so insignificant.

I’ve barely had time to seriously reflect on my first semester at Divinity School. My summer classes, and a propitious summer internship, will be starting up next week. The house is a mess, and the remnants of my last few home improvement projects still taunt me when I pass through the hallway, but Samuel doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t worry him, and I won’t let it worry me.

Parenthood is good. Already, it feels as though Samuel has been a part of our family all along. I look at him and love him. I take him in my arms, cup his head in my hands, press my belly into the bedspread, prop myself up on my elbows and just stare into his bright blue eyes. Yes. It’s true. I love him.

So many of our “first” moments are flying by faster than I can register them. We met my former boss and wonderful friend Bing Oliver at McDonald’s (his choice, by the way) this week; once the meal was done and the conversation was moving fast it suddenly hit me that this was Samuel’s first time in a restaurant. Sunday night was Samuel’s first time in church. Monday was his first doctor’s appointment. Wednesday afternoon he made it through his first cookout and Thursday morning he made it five hours without waking mom or dad up.

Today we took Samuel to the photo studio for his first big shoot. He did great. I have to give thanks to Ken Tart for having an infinite amount of patience, and diaper wipes. Ken was also kind enough to lend me a spare lens while my 50 mm f/1.4 is being repaired after conking out during Samuel’s first week at home.

Today we also had our first big scare as parents. I’m a natural worrier. I try to keep things in perspective, and I’ve been doing pretty good about letting things go, but having Samuel in our life pushes the potential for worry to a whole new level. I worry when he cries too loud. I worry when he gets too quiet. I worry that he’s too hot. I worry that he’s too cold. I worry about leaving him alone to rest, and then I worry about over stimulation. I worry. Kristen, on the other hand, is not a worrier. Whenever she begins to acknowledge the validity of my worries, then I know it’s time to get serious.

Today Samuel had us both worried. This afternoon we noticed he was breathing heavy when he was awake and wheezing when he was asleep. His doctor’s visit Monday revealed a healthier-than-normal baby (he had gained 14 oz. since he left the hospital four days earlier) so we took a little comfort in that and just kept an eye on him. Then he started crying. And crying. And crying. He was crying like I had never seen a baby cry before. Every now and then he’d take a break from crying to cough a little. Each time he’d cough, I would have an opportunity to suction a sizable chunk of mucus from his mouth. Then the crying would pick up again, and the cycle continued for about 40 minutes. Once he began to lose steam, I swaddled him up and he drifted off to sleep. I called the doctor for advice and was told to bring him in.

Samuel continued to spit up mucus in the car, but by the time we got to the doctor’s office, he was in a smiling, contented state. We described the symptoms to the nurse and got Samuel undressed so she could weigh him. The moment his diaper came off, though, he spewed a mucousy mess all over table and the nurse. It was like he had a Super Soaker 3000, loaded with slime, hidden in his pants. The nurse courageously threw herself between Samuel and her laptop; I had never seen anything like this before, but clearly she had experience dealing with such assaults. We cleaned up the mess and the doctor came in. He checked Samuel over and couldn’t find a thing wrong. Apparently, Samuel had developed a mucus plug that had given him a little trouble breathing, but he managed to expel it on his own just in time to shower the nurse and a moment too early to give the doctor anything to do.

Just in case you were wondering, this time he tipped the scales at 8 lbs. 6 oz. (that’s a post-mucus-explosion weight). It looks like he’ll be catching up to Abigail in no time.

Since we’d already made the drive to Garner, we felt obligated to go ahead and share another “first” with Samuel. For his first taste of Goodberry’s, Samuel decided to order his daddy’s favorite: a regular vanilla mint chocolate-chip concrete.

Coming Home

Samuel David Anderson

• 7 lbs. 14 oz.
• 21″
• Absolutely Wonderful

[audio:https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/Alan-Jackson-When-Somebody-Loves-You.mp3,https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/The-Beatles-Let-It-Be.mp3,https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/Alison-Krauss-When-You-Say-Nothing-at-All.mp3,https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/Alan-Jackson-How-Great-Thou-Art.mp3,https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/Audio-Adrenaline-Rest-Easy.mp3,https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/samuel-gallery7.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/05/The-Beatles-All-You-Need-Is-Love.mp3|titles=When Somebody Loves You,Let It Be,When You Say Nothing At All,How Great Thou Art,Rest Easy,All You Need is Love|artists=Alan Jackson,The Beatles,Alison Krauss,Alan Jackson,Audio Adrenaline,The Beatles|loop=yes]






Samuel – A Baby is Born







Beach Sans Baby

Earlier this month Kristen and I went to Myrtle Beach for a family baby shower. The trip was especially fun because we had just learned that my cousin Rhett and his wife Sayla are also newly expecting; sparing any early surprises, their baby should be born about six months after Samuel, so we will be able to share stories of baby disasters ( I mean adventures), tips for dealing with strangers who feel compelled to touch the babies and grandmas who refuse to hand the babies back. We may even be able to share toddler clothes, although I’ve got a hunch that their first baby is going to be a girl.

Leaving Sunday afternoon, Kristen and I both felt a little perplexed as we reflected on the fact that we won’t be returning to Myrtle Beach until we have a new baby boy to bring with us. Actually, it was mainly just Kristen that felt perplexed; I was too queasy to drive.





Rhett & Sayla's Wedding

This post was originally created on February 17, 2010, as an image gallery. I have moved it into the blog for archive purposes.

My cousin Rhett married his long-time girlfriend Sayla in August of 2009, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in their wedding. As one of the groomsmen, I wasn’t able to get any shots during the actual wedding, but I did have a good time trying to capture the excitement of the rehearsal and the reception that followed. This was my first experience really taking pictures at a wedding, and I have to say that from a portrait photographer’s point of view, weddings have to be a dream come true. Everybody wants their pictures made, and everybody wants to do it right. Every face you see has a smile and every interaction is overflowing with emotions. Trying to catch it all in a single photograph is a challenge, in the same way harvesting a tree heavy with fruit is a frazzling task.