I recently had a friend tell me she was leaving the art world to do something more meaningful. The statement caught me off guard and made me think about why I do what I do, and how I got started doing it in the first place.
While there are many other professions that are important and a million different paths that each of us could have taken, I know this one is for me. My college essay was about my love of people and my hope to one day be a teacher. I entered the University of Texas as an english major and six months later I returned to the University of Colorado undeclared. Only after taking my first elective calculous course did I realize how much I loved math and problem solving. This passion coupled with my artistic mind seemed to drive my degree in Environmental Design and led me to work as an architect and urban planner for almost eight years. However, I knew the very first day I stepped into an official Architecture firm and sat down at my over-scaled desk, this was not for me. I felt like I was surrounded by stress and chaos and the ever present deadline. While I was good at my job and I worked hard to find my place within the profession, I missed really being with people and having control over my designs. I also missed the freedom to say yes to weekday adventures and to take time for myself when I needed it. It was not until my mom passed away, followed by both of my grandmothers, that I really started to focus on a positive life change. I thought it over and over, and I did a million excel spreadsheets comparing professions. Finally I stopped thinking, closed my eyes, and tried to vision what I wanted. I decided to stop forcing a traditional “career” down my own throat and find the one that was already within me. I started to prepare. Three years before I quit my job in the worst recession I had ever been a part of, I invested in my first high resolution camera and enrolled in my first official photography course. I started to feel the momentum build. This was about me and my happiness, long term. I worked with a great friend and life coach to finally gain the courage to really go for it and start my own business. I did not have to be perfect and this did not have to start out as a raging success, I just had to start somewhere. Photography was and is competitive, risky, and crazy… but it is also the right thing to do.
Finding meaning in what we do is up to us. Knowing that we will get to the “right” place in our lives takes patience, courage, and experience. We have to make mistakes and in doing so we we will find ourselves. My background in architecture and planning helps me see composition, structure and light in unique and intrinsic ways. I see people as part of their environment and their environment as part of them. I love photographing events as they happen and letting people be who they are in my lens, my background has also taught me the importance of guiding these moments in ways that will help the images shine.
I look back on the millions of photos in my families collection and often wish we had hired a professional photographer to just spend the day with us. Very few images have us all together. There are 4 kids in my family and one hour with our crew would have been enough to warrant a photobook. We had character as a family and spice as individuals. There are few great portraits of my mom and she was really something special. I want to take those images for you and the people who are special in your life. This is something I take seriously and I strive to keep getting better at. When life is simplified and we reflect back, often the things we remember are based on a photograph we once saw. Photography is important. It captures our moments and helps define what we remember.
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