Do you know what a "Renaissance Man" is?

By definition, its a clever man who is good at many things. He’s versatile and well-rounded. I recently read a blog post listing the qualities of a Renaissance Man and there were many: well-educated, self-taught, a free thinker, analytical, multi-lingual, well-read, sociable, a sportsman, brave, handsome, well-dressed, charismatic, a gentleman, artistic, cultured, well-traveled, explorer, inventor, entrepreneurial, effortless, and humble. We read about these men in classic literature, hear about them in history class, and even try to replicate them in modern blockbuster films (hint: Captain America).

One of the 2023 seniors I photographed falls under the Renaissance Man designation.

Jacob greeted me with a warm grin and offered to help carry my camera bag. That’s always how Jacob greets you: with a smile and willingness to be helpful. He’s the type of young man you want to have around: he’s a kind and caring, loves to joke, and enjoys a good, mind-stimulating conversation. He’s intellectual curious, can talk about practically anything, and is a good listener.

A strong student, Jacob excels at many subjects but especially enjoys the verbal arts. This year he participated in a moot court regional qualifier, won the majority of his rounds, and qualified for the national tournament! That’s incredibly exciting! Outside the classroom, Jacob has been playing soccer and piano since he was little and added track to his athletic resume as he got older. And when he’s not doing schoolwork or school-related activities, Jacob loves to be outdoors: hiking, fishing, hunting and cultivating the land and forest.

Along that same outdoor vein, Jacob plans to spend the summer working at Deerfoot, a Christian wilderness camp, as a camp counselor where he’s been a camper since he was 8 years old. Deerfoot is an extraordinary camp: the boys live “off the grid” for 8 weeks. That’s more than just “no cell phones”—it also means no electricity or cabins during four of those are eight weeks which are spent hiking, canoeing, and sleeping in the woods. As the Deerfoot website explains: “Deerfoot offers a wilderness experience that strips away all the distractions of modern daily life. It challenges campers, and pushes them past their comfort zones to where real growth happens.”

At the end of the summer, Jacob plans to take a gap year and work at a dude ranch in Colorado. Then, next spring, he plans to hike the Appalachian Trail. And his long term goals are no less ambitious: Jacob is setting his academic and professional sights on intersecting agriculture and business/law and plans to attend UVA in the fall of 2024—very befitting of a humble young man who is, in so many ways, a modern day Renaissance Man.

Jacob adds one virtue to the Renaissance Man list that wasn’t mentioned: a desire to love the Lord and follow him. His faith and who he is permeates everything his does—from his daily interactions to his desire to be a camp counselor. When I asked his mom what makes Jacob so remarkable, she told me “he’s very observant and aware of his surroundings and the people in his life—which makes people in his space feel valued, cared for, and loved.”

Thank you, Jacob, for the chance to capture you in an exciting chapter of your life! I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you—

Enjoy some shots from his amazing senior session—all taken on or near Monument Ave or Tredegar Street in Richmond, VA.