Kyria Luxon makes people smile, then snaps a picture.
“I was photographed by her once for a project,” said Brian McCray, a junior graphic design major and classmate of Luxon. “She seems to get energy from people. I think she enjoys photographing other people for that reason.”
Luxon said enthusiasm makes her photo shoots successful.
“A lot of people say that they’re camera shy, that they don’t like being photographed,” Luxon said. “But I tend to get so excited about things that I tend to make them comfortable. By the end of photoshoots we’re so satisfied that we could keep going forever!”
Luxon said her passion for photography began at age 16 when her brother gave her a cheap camera. That camera soon became an extension of her person.
“I started taking it everywhere and taking pictures of everything,” she said. “Mostly flowers at that point. I just shot (it) all the time. Everybody was like ‘Here’s Kyria, and she brought her camera with her.’”
Luxon’s roommate and long-time friend Lydia Rucker said she’s watched Luxon’s talent grow.
“The technical side of (the craft) has gotten a lot better for her,” said Rucker, a freshman. “She’s learned how to play with light and she’s done Photoshop so many times that she knows it like the back of her hand. As she continues to develop her skill and her craft, she is able to get excited about smaller things in it. I think it’s art for her.”
Luxon is a graphic design major and has a photography minor.
She ranks as a sophomore, though she’s old enough to be a senior. That’s because she’s taken two gap years – one after graduating high school and another after finishing her freshman year at Cedarville.
These gap years were not spent idly. Not only did Luxon work two jobs to recoup the cost of school, but she also started a photography business.
Her business specializes in portraiture: baby photos, senior pictures, wedding albums and the like. Luxon calls it Kindiado Graphics.
“Last year I built (my business) up a lot because I was home,” Luxon said. “It’s sort of starting to take off. I hate marketing myself, but I’ve had to get a little better.”
So far the majority of Luxon’s clients come from her home church, but the quality of her work has prompted many clients to positively refer her to others.
Luxon said she holds herself to a high standard.
“My biggest goal and challenge has been (getting) that perfect portrait of somebody,” Luxon said. “That includes playing with backlighting, putting them in shade (and) figuring out what combination works best.”
McCray said, “(Luxon’s photography) is in a fine art style. She has obviously thought out the artistic approach to lighting and the composition of the picture.”
It turns out that Luxon’s photographic aspirations are not an end in themselves.
Rucker said Luxon’s art has a bigger purpose.
“Her dream is to go to China and open a home for orphaned girls,” Rucker said. “She’s had that dream for as long as I’ve known her. It’s the motivation for everything she does.”
Luxon said she’s always wanted to be a missionary. She said her dream sprouted from a biography about missionary Amy Carmichael.
“(Carmichael) started a home for girls who were sold into prostitution at six years old,” Luxon said. “She went in and she literally took the girls out of these situations. Physically went in and grabbed them and left. She is the coolest person ever. She was my first true inspiration.”
Luxon’s encounter with Carmichael’s legacy was lent real-world wallop when Japanese missionaries visited her church. Luxon said their stories inspired her, and she began to consider the missionary life.
Her interest gained geographical focus when she read a book about China’s one child policy and its horrendous consequences.
“A portion (of the book) talked about the condition of kids in the orphanages run by the state,” Luxon said. “I was so appalled. I said, ‘This has to stop.’”
In high school, Luxon got the opportunity to visit China.
She went with a team and spent several weeks with foster kids. She took the experience as confirmation of God calling her to start an orphanage in China.
Luxon is attending Cedarville to prepare for her future service.
“She chose graphic design as a major because she could do that anywhere in the world (by emailing) the basics of what she’d be designing,” Rucker said.
And when will Luxon go to China?
“As soon as I get done with college,” Luxon said. “(That’s) why I’m taking all these years off in between; I don’t want to be in debt when I get out. I don’t know (when) I’ll finish, but when I do finally graduate, I’d like to be able to go over (to China) immediately.
“God put that dream in my heart,” Luxon said, “so I’m going for it.”
Visit Kindiado Graphics online:
Nate Spanos is a senior music major and a reporter for Cedars. He co-authors a blog about growth in Christ called Understory. You can explore it at jesusknife.com.