Dear Fear | A Letter from a Nashville Photographer

Dear Fear,

I suppose I have the right to remain silent about this, but I no longer have the ability. I’ve thought long and hard before writing this letter to you, but there are some things I need to say to you. We’ve known each other for a long time and I’ve come to rely on you for a lot of things. I’m not really sure how or when we came to know each other but when I first met you somehow you made me feel safe. I felt like nothing could touch me. Pain, hurt and disappointment stayed away with you in my life. I knew what to expect with you and that’s exactly what I needed.

After getting to know you better over time, I’ve learned a lot of things. You became controlling and you’re always putting me down. You tell me over and over how I can’t do this or that. You tell me that no one will value what I have to offer. You discourage me from pursuing things that I want in my life by telling me the risk is too great. YOU NEVER ENCOURAGE ME and you constantly remind me that my security is in you and that to reach my dreams I have to trust you and allow myself to feel safe with you. You warned me about pain, hurt and failure. You said they were a gang of thugs  I wouldn’t want to run into. I’ve believed you and trusted what you were saying to me, but now I’m not so sure.

You see, the other day, I ran into My Dreams again. They’re bright, beautiful, happy, smart, intelligent and inspiring. They told me again how much they want me.  They’re dedicated to me but only if I am totally dedicated to them. I know this is no surprise to you because I’ve talked to you about My Dreams before, but you laughed and told me what an idiot I was for believing anything they had to say to me. “Achieving them is like being given a task to complete a 1000 piece puzzle with 500 pieces and having to create the other 500 yourself, why would you put yourself through all of that?” you scoffed. So I was kept nicely tucked away…safe from failure, safe from happiness, safe from fulfillment and safe from reaching my full potential. Well, I’m not free. I’m not fulfilled. I’M NOT HAPPY. Your puzzle analogy is actually a good one. You see, I’ve learned that half of the journey is simply having the desire to pursue your dreams and the other half is just making them whatever you want them to be. I have a longing for something more than what you’ve offered me and I need to make some changes. You’ve held me back long enough.

My Dreams have made some big promises and I admit at first they sound daunting and scary but I believe them. They make no guarantees except that if I really want it then I would let nothing stop me. I am aware that I will meet with pain, hurt and failure but they’re toothless tigers. If I would just keep my eyes on the beauty of My Dreams then not only would I draw closer to My Dreams but My Dreams will draw closer to me. Every pain or disappointment or failure would be worth it!

I know you’ll always try to find your way back into my life, but in order to courageously pursue My Dreams I have to resist you. I have to turn you away and learn to control you and not let you control me. My Dreams have promised me freedom. They give me permission to envision a “Me” that I choose to be. That’s why I’m in love with My Dreams. They see the best in me unlike you who reinforce the worst of me. Like many dreamers, I sometimes mistake disenchantment for truth when all it meant was that that piece doesn’t fit in the puzzle. Dreams don’t come easy and many times the journey is scary, but I know now that courage is simply being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.

Well, Fear, I no longer need your protection.

I’m throwing myself out there…I’m making myself vulnerable. I know I will be knocked down from time to time. I also know that as long as I can look up, I can get up and if I can get up, the beauty of My Dreams will shine brighter than before.

My mother always said to me before I pursue My Dreams that I must do one thing that will make all the difference in the world. I must commit this journey to God, first. She told me I would meet challenges that will test my faith and integrity. If I can honor God with my life, treat people I meet respectfully and deal with them honestly and fairly; if I commit all that I do to God, then God will honor me with the desires of my heart. Only then will I meet My Dreams face to face. I wish I had done this a long time ago but as long as I’m sucking wind, its never to late. I’m dedicating myself to pursuing My Dreams, the dreams that God has placed in my heart.

Fear, you really need help. It must be difficult being you. Anyone whose entire purpose in life is to hold people back, telling them they are not worthy or they aren’t smart enough, or they are not deserving of the best that God has for them, has a REAL PROBLEM. You need counseling, but I’m not the one to give it.

So now a new journey has begun. I’ve changed the locks, Fear. Your key no longer works in my door, your things are on the porch and I’ve activated the alarm. You know, its funny. I can still hear you in my head telling me that I’m making a mistake and telling me that I’ll be back. You often asked me why would I take the risk to go after some pipe dream. Well, I know that I’m opening myself to an emotional ride but my decision is simply a risk rooted in the courage to be free and I choose to be free…free from you.  Perhaps life is no more than a dream and a fear, but I heard someone say once that there are no safe positions in life. We all have to die to leave here. Since I’m here, I can’t play it safe anymore. I have to be bold, courageous, brave and daring. I’m going after what God has for me. My mother warned me about you and I never listened. I’m listening now. My Dreams are waiting and they’re awesome!

I suppose I had the right to remain silent about this, but I no longer have the ability.

Don’t call me anymore. It’s over. Goodbye, Fear.


©2012 Mark Denman

2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.

Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.


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Tanya & Andre’ | Nashville Wedding Photographer

My task as a photographer is to capture what I see
To show that which is ordinary
I’m often caught of guard when my work is already done
For Tanya and Andre’ are as awesome as they come.
My camera struggled mightily to capture love as art
When it humbly learned its lesson…
“They are not two things apart.”
It cannot be created was the lesson that I learned.
No software can claim ownership with a simple dodge or burn.
The love art that I recorded was crafted long ago.
Was formed and shaped by the Lord – A wonderous Masterstroke.
How dare I think I could create a canvassed piece of art.
When the masterpiece that is their love
was already in their hearts.

Thank you Tanya and Andre’ for inviting me to be witness to your declaration of God’s masterpiece.

You both are AMAZING!

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Sneak Peek – Nashville Wedding Photographer

Take a peek at what’s coming!

Union Station Hotel - Nashville, TN

Okay that’s enough!!! You’ll have to wait for the rest.

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Gavin – 6 months | Nashville Childrens Photographer

GAVIN IS FAST!!! He’s all boy! You prepare your set and test your lights so that all that’s left is to place the baby in place and snap the picture. Well after putting Gavin in place he would be in my lens before I could snap the picture. Man! Gavin has taught me one valuable lesson. I need to work faster:-)Rebecca and Kirk have their work cut out for them.

I love photographing their family. They have been great friends to us since we moved here and I always look forward to my sessions with them.

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Fun Session #1 | Nashville Photographer

Sometimes there exists a small window of opportunity to photography Rachel. She’s the little 3 yr old I see around here running up and down the stairs asking for tea, waffles and wanting me to dance with her.

I think she lives here!

Anyway, My favorite question is “Hey sweetie?, would you pose for Daddy just a minute?” Her favorite answer is NO!, but on occasion its Christmas and I’ll catch her in a giving spirit. Abraham Lincoln once said “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” Today was that day and my chance had come. She gave me three gifts before “Christmas” ended.

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A Welcomed Surprise | Nashville Portrait Photographer

There are great images everywhere. As a photographer you just have to look for them. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes they just fall into your lap. Like this adorable little girl. I have forgotten her name but I’ll never forget her little face. I was photographing a family in Bicentennial park when she and her family walked by. My wife began talking to them and discovered they were from England. (Oh boy!) Well, on a short break from photographing my clients, I began talking to her, and I immediately thought “she would make a great image.” So I asked permission to photograph her. I quickly got off a few frames and this is what I caught. I love it!

Too bad she’s doesn’t live here in the states. I would have quite a few portfolio images with her. Thanks again to her parents for letting me photograph her. Look me up if you are ever in Nashville again!!!

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Recent Work | Nashville Photographer

Creating an image is a lot more than pointing and shooting.  It’s vision, concepts and execution.  I enjoy the challenge of creating a marriage between the “three.”  These are actually old images with new edits.  Since my models are wearing period clothing, I wanted to make the finish of the images look as they these were discovered in an old chest in someone’s attic.

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Inga & Shannon | Nashville Wedding Photographer

All I can say is WOW!

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Meet Brooke, Northeast High’s Senior Model Rep | Nashville Senior Photographer

Nashville Senior Model

Meet Brooke, Northeast High’s MDP Senior Model Representative. I am glad to have Brooke aboard my growing team of Seniors and I look forward to documenting her senior year in pictures.

Brooke is a talent. A soccer player, tennis player, French club president a Beta club member and recycling club member. She enjoys ballroom dancing, photography and cooking and plans to attend culinary school. WOW!

Well I got a chance to meet Brooke and her family recently and I saw very quickly why she is as amazing as she is. Her family was very warm and friendly and Dad even helped in our introductory photoshoot by getting some really great expression out of Brooke.

The intro-photo session is not only to get a great image of Brooke so that I can introduce her to you here but also for us to get a feel for each other since I’ll be photographing her at different points in her Senior year. I set up a small studio in their home and we came away with some nice portraits and some fun silly, playful shots also. I’ll be posting a few of the shots here and more on Facebook so be sure to join the Mark Denman Photography Fan page and follow Brooke through her senior year.

If you are a senior with Brooke and you want a fun senior portrait session of your own, give me a call and say “Brooke sent me” and find out how you can save big. Want a family portrait? say “Brooke sent me.” Want a portrait of your child?” say “Brooke sent me.” If you have any need for photography give me a call and say “Brooke sent me” and save!

It’s gonna be a fun year. I can feel it!

Meet Brooke!

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Inga & Shannon Sneak Peek | Nashville Wedding Photographer

Here is a little something from an adorable wedding recently. Stay tuned because there is more to come.

Inga & Shannon | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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Hallmark Redux – A Portrait Study

Being a graduate of the Hallmark Institute of Photography is no small matter. Its not an easy school to get into and its even harder to get out. No one goes through unscathed. Having been a graduate of 2 years I still find myself in awe of images the students create year in and out. I often find myself scrolling through an eternity of bookmarks just to get a look at “where they are now.” So many talented photographers, so much inspiration and so much curiosity piqued my interest to meet some of them, chat with them and maybe even learn a thing or two from them…and then the idea hit me like a ton of bricks….


but don’t just photograph them… Study their work, their style, their lighting and photograph them in their style yet still infusing your own vision. Wow! That’s a challenge because there are so many Uber-talented photographers with so many unique styles who have graduated from Hallmark, but unless we challenge ourselves there can be no growth, right? So Hallmark Redux was born.

I plan to photograph every willing Hallmark graduate (still working as a photographer) in the South East United States. This will involve a lot of traveling, a lot of planning, a lot of studying and a lot of fun. I’m excited to take this on and I know the rewards will be many. I will be sharing what I’ve learned along the way about the business of photography, the technical tips and tricks, and any life lessons I’ve learned from my fellow alumni. It’s going to be an interesting ride. So come along. You’re invited.

Tennessee Alumni are on deck. At the top of the order…

Sara Renee Murray (2009) –
Lexey Hall (2008) –
Michael Bretz (2009) –
Tracye Taylor (2001) –
Daniel Meigs (2006) –
Crystal Martin (2005) –
Felicia Franklin (2008) –
Mark Denman (2008, 2009 Hon :)) – Yes, a self-portrait series:)

I’m still considering East Texas, Oklahoma and the Virginias. We’ll see!

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2011 Senior Models Wanted :: Nashville Senior Photographer

If you are unique, and I know you are, become a Mark Denman Photography Senior Model. Find out how here Nashville Senior Photographer

Nashville Senior Models Wanted :: Nashville Senior Photography

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