A Girl With a Camera (Layne Beckner Grime)

My love affair with photography began two decades ago when I was gifted a purple 35mm camera. I think it was from Avon. My sister received a matching one.

I loved it more than anything.

I’d line up my Cabbage Patch dolls-all 18 of them-along the perimeters of my hallway and snap away at their school portraits. I found my dogs and cats made excellent subjects too.

It wasn’t until a few years later, however, as I was reading a fiction series about a photographer that I knew the direction of my destiny. I was 11 or 12 at the time. From then on, I told everyone I met that I wanted to be either food critique, a photographer or a history teacher when I grew up. Being a generally crazy-picky eater prevented me from ever having a career in the former and pure reasoning from the latter.

It was yet a few years later still, when I took my first photo class in university, that my life course was irrevocably altered. I couldn’t run away from this big scary dream any longer. I changed my degree program from business (yes, that was a laughable phase of my life) to photojournalism and haven’t looked back since.

In the last ten years I’ve documented county fairs, births, political rallies. I’ve shot weddings and a few too many tragedies along the way. I’ve done stories on small towns, big families and biological sisters who joined a convent in their teenage years. At 98 and 101 Sisters Agnes Catherine and Joseph Mary were still loving Jesus and each other well.

I love telling stories with photos and capturing moments, small snippets of eternity that will not be forgotten, images documented for all time. Chronicling life with people from all races, ages and walks of life has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.

To be honest, photography was the first thing in my life that I was terrible at, yet didn’t give up on. I have a list the length of my arm of things I walked away from in my younger years because I didn’t immediately excel at them. I love being Great at what I do; there is no other option, really.

I loved photography far more than it loved me though.

During my first years of uni, I’d go see my professor each week after completing my assignment and during every single visit he said something like, “Wellllllllllllllllllllll, ahem this is good, BUT, see this and this. This is how you could do this a bit better. Why don’t you go out and try again before class on Tuesday.”

I lost weeks of sleep and probably years of my life in those wonderful and eye-opening years.

I remember in university hearing my classmates talking about only marrying another photographer. At the time I just shrugged-I knew I’d have a camera in my hands, documenting my life, no matter what. But years later, I did fall in love with a fellow photographer and feel excessively blessed to be able to challenge each other in our chosen field every single day.

In our business (Jono & Laynie {Photo + Film}) we shoot everything (weddings, charity events, babies, families, houses, you name it, we’ve probably shot it). I am so grateful to work and grow with the love of my life.

But one of my very favorite things to shoot is boudoir-and almost all my personal work involves girls just dressing up.

I’ve done several personal shoots (some featured here) in the past year from my ongoing project called “Of Wood Nymphs and Pixie Dust” to shoots involving a Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, the color red and Princess & the Pea.

Perhaps part of this vision has come from years of playing dress-up with my beloved sister. Some things never change, and maybe a teensy piece of me will never grow up.

But I also have a passion for making women feel beautiful. There are so many voices out there, telling us we need to look and act a certain way. “Be thinner” or “This is the standard for pretty.”
But I look at women everywhere and see value, worth and beauty. I want these women to see themselves as they truly are.
One of my favorite responses ever from a boudoir client, went something like this: “holy $#!+…I had NO idea I could look like that! THANK YOU! My husband’s jaw will need lifting….”

I want girls and women to see how stunning they are, no matter what the media says, no matter what they think the mirror and scale are telling them.

They are seen, they are valued, they are loved-just because.

And I understand the nuances of this heartbreaking journey of finding self-worth because I too am just a girl. Just a girl with a camera, sharing life as I see it.


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