Chances / by Liz Brown

April 18, 2010, I shot my first show: August Burns Red.

I still have the email from Josh, their tour manager. I asked him the most naive questions, from “where do I pick up my ticket” to “what do I wear” to “when do I show up.” I probably would have been annoyed with me: a young gal with no experience to merit the opportunity to shoot at a great band at one of the best venues in Chicago. But Josh was super gracious. He answered all my silly questions, going above and beyond, letting me know what to bring and when to show up and the order of the bands and even gave me a way to contact him day-of if I had any more questions. Who does that? Only the kindest people. Josh gave me a completely undeserved chance at something great and it changed my life in ways I couldn’t have anticipated that day.

That was the first day I picked up my camera. Ever. I’ve since taken it to multiple states and countries, shot dozens of bands. I’ve made friends because of it: folks like Sarah and Alyssa and Meanz and the dudes in Holdfast. Some of my dearest friends. I’m in Sarah’s wedding in four months because of my camera. That’s how we met: shooting together.

My camera has given me the courage and reason to walk into dark rooms and crowded streets and talk to strangers. It’s given me the push I needed to become braver. I’ve met folks in most states I’ve visited: shop owners, tourists, bands, baristas. My camera has given me the opportunity to eat amazing donuts and cross state lines and have better adventures than 18-year-old me could have imagined.

Today, April 3, 2016, I shot August Burns Red again—almost 6 years later to the day of that first show. It feels like bookends to something, but I’m not sure what, as I don’t think my time with a camera is over, but I feel a sense of completeness. I feel like I began something and I’ve come around the track, back to where I started, but with a journey between there and now: like I circumnavigated something grand, this part of life in-between.

Thank you, Josh, for giving this gal—with no experience or knowledge—a crazy, undeserved chance. You changed my life.

I’ve told this story before and I’ll tell it again because it changed me and I’m so thankful. My story is entirely different because one man gave me a chance.

Give people chances. First chances. Second chances. Undeserved chances. Give lots of chances.

We all need them.

We all need them.

You can change someone’s life.

*Full disclosure/epilogue:

I wrote this the afternoon before the show. When I’m full of nostalgia, I write, so I did. That was about 3pm. I showed up at the venue at 6:30, and at 7 I stepped outside for a breather and to eat a Clif Bar. I was walked down the sidewalk when a man asked, “Liz?” It was Josh. We’d never met in person before, but he saw my photo pass and took a guess; he was right. I told him the condensed version of what I wrote above here. I thanked him for giving me a chance. He remembered that I’d lived somewhere else before; what are the odds of someone remembering that, years later? I’m telling you: this fellow is the kindest human. So I asked him for a portrait. Later in the evening, as he walked by, he thanked me. I guess this whole story is a thank you to him.