Almost every photographer has a reason and a purpose for why they started photography. Some start because they had a less than ideal photography experience (usually for their wedding) and wanted to provide others with what they didn’t get. Some start because they had children and picked it up as a hobby and it just grew from there. I don’t normally share personal things about myself, especially not THIS personal. I don’t even like sharing it with close loved ones. But today I share with you the deepest part of my life, the reason for who I am today, and how my destiny was laid out in front of me from a very young age. I share my story with you today in hopes that I can inspire even a small percentage of you and show you why photos are so important.
It’s 2002. Late Thanksgiving night, to be exact. I still remember the night like it happened yesterday. I was cuddled in bed with my mom around midnight when the phone rang. My stomach instantly dropped. My grandma always says “nothing good ever happens after midnight” and the truth of that has stuck with me forever. My mom leaned over and grabbed the phone off the storage headboard. Her reaction verified the uneasy feeling in my stomach. She gets out of bed, and shortly after my cousins, aunt and uncle are at the door. It was then that I found out my great grandfather had suffered a fatal heart attack. I was only 9 years old when my world came crashing down. When you’re that young and hadn’t experienced a loss before, it really hits you. You’re not quite old enough to comprehend why, but you’re old enough to understand how it changes your life. I remember the confusion and pain being overwhelming, but I also remember talking to my cousin about how I’m going to do something to honor our great grandfather.
Fast forward a couple years. My favorite thing to do, even now, is to go through boxes or pictures. Looking back on my ridiculous hair cuts never gets old! (Thanks mom!) ;) There’s something so precious about old photos that tell your family’s story and history. Their favorite vacation spots, their old friends, traditions, etc. One thing I noticed though is there were very few photos with or even of my great grandparents. Life gets busy and we all forget to capture it. It’s hard to get a squirmy toddler to settle down for a photo. Or to remember to take any photos when you’re hosting a party and have a list of other things to do. I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it. And I hate it. You don’t realize the importance of photos until it’s all you have left.
As a young child I realized memories and moments are so important but yet so fragile. After seeing my great grandma suffer with Alzheimer’s for several years, I realized that sometimes you don’t even have your most precious memories anymore. You don’t even know your own daughter’s name let alone what she looked like as a baby. That heartbreaking realization only grew my love of photos even more.
I think I received my first digital camera only a few short years after that. I seriously took pictures of everything and everyone. I carried it in my purse in middle school and jr. high EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t know why my friends still hung around me when I always had a camera in their face. I volunteered to take pictures for the yearbook even before I was old enough to be in the class. I didn’t receive a grade, I didn’t receive course credits, nothing. I did it out of my love for photography and capturing moments. When I finally was old enough to be in the class, you better believe I was one of the first to sign up. Eventually I worked my way to editor and truly loved the class. I learned so much about photography and got so much valuable experience behind the camera.
It was 2010, my senior year of High School that I decided to take it to a new level. I started to make photography into a career. I turned heartbreak into my passion. Every step along the difficult road has led me to here. It’s led me to a career of capturing moments and memories for families throughout the Tri-state area. If you would have told me then that I would find a way to turn my sorrows into happiness, I wouldn’t believe you.
Almost 14 years ago I told myself I would find a way to honor my great grandfather. Although becoming a photographer is not what I had in mind for that, it is kind of ironic. One of the few things that I do remember about him is his Polaroid camera and how he always took family pictures during get togethers. In a way, it fits. I get to spend the rest of my life capturing precious memories and milestones for families to treasure forever.
People often ask me why I take my job so seriously. Or why I work so hard. Or why I stress so easily. This is why. This is why when you hire us, I do not take my job lightly. Capturing moments for other families is what I live for. It’s truly the greatest gift in the world.
Had to insert that last picture to cheer myself up ;) BEST picture ever taken, hands down.