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She’s my 7-year-old and her world is a fascinating place.  Her daily needs are simple; food, sleep and adventure.  Her notebook is full of friendly monster doodles and has a clockwork morning report of her nightly dreams.  In one particular instance, she woke to tell me that she dreamt that she could fly.  And she had a simple request.  She wanted to do a photoshoot of her dream.

Now, you can guess what I did next.  I looked down on my abilities to fulfill her photoshoot request. I told her that I didn’t know how to do that,  that I hadn’t taken photos for a while, that I wasn’t good enough or that it would be too hard.  I thought about my equipment and how my camera was old and I didn’t have the right lens. Excuse after excuse after excuse. She was sad and utterly confused.  But she did something that I will forever appreciate.  She didn’t listen. She opened her doodle book and drew a photo of her flying above her bed and started putting together the necessary items to “produce” the shoot.  A stool, books, pillows, her bed, a ladder, etc.  She was persistent and had no doubt that her vision could somehow come to play.

What a ridiculous example I was.  Here my daughter had a vision and a concept she wanted to at least try and because of my own expectations and insecurities, I was the nay-sayer, the negative influence and the wall that was holding back a productive artistic expression for a child.  So I bucked up, slapped myself around for a bit and grabbed my camera bag topped with dust from months of inactivity.  And under her direction, the photoshoot began.

She grabbed a stool and placed it on her bed.  Since I knew I’d have to do some photo manipulation in Photoshop, I placed my camera on top of her dresser since my tripod was absent.  (By keeping the camera in the same place on each shot, it makes it easier to composite photos together later.)  I started by letting her direct and pose to see what exactly her vision was.  She knew the picture wouldn’t be believable if her hair wasn’t moving so she directed her lovely sister assistant to flip her hair.

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And of course, what would flying be without some gush of massive wind from “her powers”?  We then removed her from the shot and took separate frames of the bed curtains moving.

Once the short youthful attention span started kicking in, I knew it was then in my court to make her vision come to pass with some compositing and photo stacking.  So I had to choose a plain photo of the background without her in it so I chose the movement of curtains photo as my background or base image.

In Photoshop, I then started layering each of the photos on top of each other and created masks on each of the layers to bring out the elements that I wanted to show or the elements I did NOT want to show.  During my editing process, I realized a few things that were needed.  Since I removed the chair from the photo, I needed the illusion that she was sitting on something so we took another photo of a pillow to add that to the composite.

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And the results?  Magic.  Absolute magic.  Not because I took the photo or because of some incredible editing technique. It was magic simply because it was her idea, her concept, her execution and there was nothing in this world that could convince her it wasn’t possible.  I showed her the final image in Photoshop and she jumped up and down with excitement and pride in “her work”.  And I must admit, she was a catalyst of igniting a passion and re-implanting the bug of absolute love for photography back into my soul.  She didn’t listen to me when I told her it was too hard, too time consuming or that I didn’t have the skills to implement her idea.  She simply continued forward without letting my negativity stop her from turning her dream into pixels and proving that this baby girl can indeed fly. :)

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How many times have you had an idea and had no doubt in your mind that an idea was possible?  How long has it been since you allowed yourself to freely create?  How long has it been since you did something without listening to the nay-sayers or the negative influencers?

If you are in a creative rut, maybe let a child inspire you in more ways than one.  You might just learn something.   Because my dear friends, I know I did.

Follow Melissa on Twitter.

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Join the conversation! 148 Comments

  1. This is a great story! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This story is great! Indeed we have allowed our negativity limit our capability to ‘fly’. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  3. In the words of Miranda “such fun”, seriously good job! You have composited all the photos together very well.

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  4. This is great! If only there were a “magic wand” in that right hand.

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  5. Beautiful Melissa! Love the story behind this amazing picture. Oh, and I love the choice of top she chose to wear for the shoot (tee hee).

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  6. This is such in inspiring story.. thanks for sharing!

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  7. That’s so awesome melissa! Love it! Love those cute girls!

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  8. Okay, I’m on pinterest and I see THIS picture. No way–I KNOW that girl! That is totally Melissa’s daughter!!! Click, click…yup it IS! I LOVE this story, and I LOVE her! Way to go momma!!!

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  9. Your daughter’s got a gift. I’d like to see what she comes up with in the future. Maybe she’ll be an award-winning film director or photographer. You never know.

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  10. She is lucky to have a mom who appreciates her creative passion!

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  11. I love this!!! Thanks for sharing the process too :D

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  12. More parents need to do things like this for their children. It would definitely make the world a better place, just as this image has. Kudos!

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  13. Melissa, I found this post really touching, and I’m not usually a sentimental bloke! I adore her pose, it’s very fierce.

    Thanks!

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  14. I am amazed. Great work.

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  15. Simply beautiful what children can do and make us do :)

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  16. Creativity at its best! Smart girl with a wonderful imagination. Thank you for sharing I can’t wait till the day my son starts doing this as well.

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  17. I’m impressed by your daughter’s persistence, and it clearly paid off.
    I was teaching songs and games to some Girl Scout Leaders on Saturday and had to remind them to think like children instead of adults. They were being to analytical and orderly, and it is very important to engage in imagination and silliness. Fortunately, being Girl Scout leaders, they immediately brushed off any curmudgeonliness and joined in the silliness.

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  18. Don’t you just love the way their amazing little minds work…. Oh to be a child again!

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  19. Your daughter sounds beautiful; imaginative and intelligent. Yep children are amazing and innately creative. Then we kill that creativity and talent with school. It is very sad. So pleased you learnt from your child. Adults seem to forget that children can teach us anything and do everything to crush their dreams

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  20. Wow!~ So glad you listened to your girl! She has magic powers to inspire and banish negative thoughts!

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  21. I love this story! And thank God for parents like you who persist in making their children’s dreams come true. I swear, if every adult took the time to listen to kids every once in a while, we would all be better off. Reminds me of a phrase I try to live by: “the creative adult is the child who survived.”

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  22. Beautiful story to match an informative photo tutorial of sorts. I’m showing this one to my daughter. This is her world too.

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  23. Reblogged this on dcjaguar – Reiki and psychic readings and commented:
    This is a wonderful story of rediscovering your true passion through the eyes of a child, be yours, someone else’s or your own inner child.

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  24. So sweet! great story! really made me think.

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  25. Love this, thanks for blogging !

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  26. I love this post (and the picture!). As adults, we have lost our ability to think beyond what we can physically see at times. I love the perspective of children. It is full of imagination, heart and soul and is completely unconditioned! Great story!

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  27. Children have plasticity; they absorb information and they haven’t adapted all of our expectations, so they see the world in a more creative way.

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  28. Wow… wow… I love this post. The pictures are wonderful. And your daughter also wonderfully creative. She’s lucky to have you as her mom. And I believe that you are also lucky to be blessed with a wonderful daughter like her.

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  29. what a great mom you are. continue to be blessed!

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  30. What a great and inspirational post! Thank you

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  31. Fantastic :-) Thank-you so much for sharing this story, and reminding me that NOTHING is impossible, out of the mouths of babes, we learn. I am re-posting this, and look forward to seeing more of your awesome work :-) Great blog

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  32. Reblogged this on Australian Artists United and commented:
    Through the eyes of a child NOTHING is impossible Great blog well worth the read :-)

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  33. Love love love this story. I hope I can be a motivator to my kids even when I’m not feeling so worthy. Thank you for this.

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  34. Hi Melissa, I think that your daughter will really love this! You have brought her dream to life by using your creativity!

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  35. That is amazing how you created that picture. I am truly impressed. I do find that for myself I get a lot of my inspiration from my daughter.

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  36. Reblogged this on The Cheshire Smile and commented:
    “The creative adult is the child who survived.” – Ursula LeGuin

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  37. They say ‘the creative adult is the child who survived’. Your daughter reminds me of myself when I was her age. I hope she never stops dreaming (and doodling)!

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  38. Reblogged this on 4S' Space and commented:
    I wish I could be a kid again!

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  39. This is awesome! Congrats to you and your daughters!

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  40. I loved this story Melissa. I’ve been thinking about the power of pursuing dreams, and your experience with your daughter has just reinforced that for me. I’ve reblogged your post on Flourish!.

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  41. What a beautiful story! And flying on a pillow? That is so much more awesome to me than flying on a carpet! That picture definitely inspired me and I need all the inspiration I can get for Nanowrimo. I’ll order 1 flying pillow ride adventure to go on my way to 50,000 words please.

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  42. Amazing, what a creative girl you have :)

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  43. We should never lose our creativity…it makes life more bearable. Love the photo.

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  44. Thank you for sharing this great story. We all can learn from children, I believe this too.

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  45. Fabulous – I love the photo, and the background adds even more magic. Kids certainly are great creative catalysts…as are dreams. I have no doubt your daughter will remember this moment for years to come, as will you. Looking forward to seeing some more magic photos. Blessings, H xxx

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  46. Wow.. That is absolutely amazing! Nothing beats a child’s imagination and a Mother’s ability to succeed! Just brilliance..

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  47. Amazing!…this post actually brought tears to my eyes. Such creativity and persistence. I need that “make it happen attitude.’ What an inspiration that story is. I know she’s not my child but I’m proud of her just the same;-) Thanks for sharingg!

    Blessedart

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  48. A lovely daughter and a lovely mum, that takes the time and effort to listen. And the result were really good! Now I finally get what layering and masking means :)

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  49. I had to re-read this. Love it!

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  50. I love this and I love that you realised you were looking down on your abilities and allowed your child to inspire you. not alot of people do that because they think they are above their children. MY HERO

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  51. You and your daughter are an inspiration.

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  52. This is beautiful. The story, the images, the power behind it. Sometimes being an adult takes away our ability to see the world as a child does. Awesome to be brought back to the joys of life and the view that anything is possible xx

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  53. must be some feeling to aid your daughter achieve her vision. she is creative and her thoughts have the clarity that many like me lack. kudos to you and to her. stunning work. congratulations for being freshly pressed and for your achievement,

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  54. Great story an photo! Well done.

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  55. Love this story! It’s a great reminder that perspective really is everything!

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  56. This is beautiful! I loved it :) congratz on being Freshly Pressed as well.

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  57. Reblogged this on TheMissedFoodConnection and commented:
    I love this story! I love the way that children view the world. I really believe that we have so much to learn from them! Thanks for this beautiful post!

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  58. Reblogged this on Lillithsnapped Artistic Photography and commented:
    i thought this was inspiring…

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  59. I love this! I did this for my 5-year-old daughter who insists she has fairy wings that no one can see…except for mommy’s camera that is. :) Well done!

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  60. I loved this story, it’s so precious :’) and the photo is awesome, so sweet! Really makes you think. It reminded me of this beautiful poem by W. Wondsworth:

    My heart leaps up when I behold
    A rainbow in the sky:
    So was it when my life began;
    So is it now I am a man;
    So be it when I shall grow old,
    Or let me die!
    The Child is father of the Man;
    I could wish my days to be
    Bound each to each by natural piety.

    We should all learn from this, thanks for sharing :) x

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  61. I like it, beautiful and fantastic

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  62. motivate me a lot ! thanks for the sharing !

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  63. Beautiful story. Great job in keeping the dreams of you girl “flying high”.

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  64. Reblogged this on Jessica Brown NZ and commented:
    Children, photography, creativity, awesome!

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  65. Reblogged this on eszab and commented:
    Creativity without limits

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  66. Such a beautiful photo! Loved the article :)

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  67. Your little kid and her determination is making me think about my life, and my dreams that i had left behind. I think i can give my dreams at least one shot, one try.
    Thanks for this beautiful post!

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  68. Wonderful girl and a wonderful image!

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  69. A child’s imagination and creativity can be such an amazing and powerful thing. This is a lovely post and it would be great if as adults we all had the ability, determination and the opportunity to follow and achieve our dreams. Thank you for sharing this inspirational piece.

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  70. Kids have the right idea: dream! No matter what anyone tells you, believe in the dream, because it is possible. I don’t know what happened when we became adults.

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  71. Beautiful Story! Excellent inspiration for any Creatives!

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  72. Aw, this is such a lovely story!

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  73. […] of you wrote about inspiration (37,504) — perhaps in preparation for NaNoWriMo (4,371) or NaBloPoMo […]

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  74. That was wonderful. This post reminds me of the bible verse in which your supposed to have faith like the children. Such a great story, keep up the good work.

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  75. It would be wise to keep a 7 year old inside of us or at least never to forget our youthful exuberance. Fantastic story and great picture!

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  76. thanks for sharing… it is inspiring!

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  77. Beautiful end result! Well done :)

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  78. When we give them the chance to participate in interior deco they do great. I just admire the children’s creative style

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  79. So inspiring story! I indeed believe in visions and visualizing-That these will come true . :D Thank you for sharing!

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  80. This was a amazing I wish I could have someone who listened to me when I was a child :(

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  81. That is the best flying kid picture ever. I love that she came up with the whole thing. Sometimes, kids are just amazing.

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  82. This is the best story that i have heard all day it doesn’t get any better than a child/children believing in you and most of all herself! I love it and tell your girls they are the creator behind craft! Awesome!

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  83. I love this. Not only is it an awesome experiment and end result. Your daughter also learns, that her imagination can be brought to reality. Her dreams can come true, as long as she picture it! Love, love, love. Well done!

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  84. Wow! very Interesting and motivating article.. The truth is that sometimes we are our nay-sayer ‘all by ourself’ and we discourage ourself from utilizing our capabilities or achieving our goals even before someone else want to be negative about it. Thanks Melissa for sharing.

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  85. All writers need to keep their inner child alive in order to continue their craft. It is the fount from which the magic of words spout. Loved this post. Have a wonderful day.

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  86. indeed great story …thanks

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  87. Reblogged this on ms. literature and commented:
    Never, never, never say it can’t be done.

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  88. Your daughter is going to change the world!

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  89. This is such an amazing story. I LOVE it so much.

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  90. Reblogged this on 716 to 512 and commented:
    Love this

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  91. Aww this was really cute and awesome :D

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  92. Reblogged this on We are Anonymous and commented:
    Greetings and Great Post😄👍 We follow your blog now 😃

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  93. Melissa, a delightful tale and demonstration of allowing love and respect for your daughter’s creativity to expand your own creative boundaries with a fabulous result. The excuses sound very familiar – how great that you pushed beyond them!

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  94. Amazing piece Melissa!! Kids are usually very practical. Tapping into their creativity could go a long way in molding their future careers and aspirations.

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  95. Reblogged this on Art Journal and commented:
    Young, innovative mind :)

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  96. Reblogged this on Button-flies and commented:
    Truly inspirational and beautiful x

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  97. Reblogged this on victorialittle and commented:
    How long has it been since you allowed yourself to freely create?

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  98. Reblogged this on "You, Honestly" – A blog exhibiting a designers mind, heavily nourished by coffee and flowers… and commented:
    Don’t grow up too fast, the exciting ideas might escape.

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  99. Reblogged this on Findlater Photography and commented:
    Out of the mouths of babes…sometimes we are so blinded by life that we lose sight of things or let it stunt our growth.
    Check out this story, very inspiring.

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  100. Reblogged this on jayradioblog's Blog and commented:
    This is an absolutely amazing story. The image turned out fantastic!

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  101. I love this, creativity goes a long way. Children definitely show us that the sky is the limit when we stop crowding our mind with negativity and excuses! Great Post!

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  102. Truly inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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  103. […] since they are truly some of the most creative little people I know.  I wrote an article on Photofocus a while back that received quite a bit of attention.  So I thought I’d turn that into a […]

    Reply

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About MelissaNiu

Melissa Niu is a storyteller at heart. Niu's work ranges from her Broadcast Journalism experience at NBC in Seattle to her recent work as a co-founder and host of the photography platform, [FRAMED] Network. Her passion for photography, music and journalistic skills harvests into a massive need to tell a good story. As a mother of three daughters and running multiple businesses, Niu is constantly seeking balance, health, laughter and progression.

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Adobe, Fine Art, Inspiration, Opinion, Portrait, Software, Your Focus

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