My passion for photography started when I was in high school. My older sister took it up and began bringing a camera with her everywhere she went- including on a family vacation overseas to Israel and Poland- and it sparked my curiosity in creating images as reminders for the future of the beautiful things I was experiencing. With a little coaching on how to use the little camera and put it on auto, I learned just how much could be captured within a single frame – and how natural it was to me. Bringing the viewfinder up to my eyes lit up in me a happiness so pure because photography gave me the ability to capture the world around me and the memories I was making. As a young kid I had loved to pour through old family photos and I was frequently in awe at how much time had passed and how life had changed since those photos had been taken, and now I finally had the ability to create a pausing of time, a snapshot of the exact moment I was in. Some of my happiest memories were those moments sitting around the boxes of photographs with my mom and sister, and our mom explaining to us who every person in the photo was, the significance of that time in history, and so much more.
Soon the baton was passed from her to me. I began bringing a camera with me everywhere I went – especially as I jumped straight into being a photographer for my high school yearbook. I continued learning and soaked up every opportunity to photograph something or someone, but I soon realized that my true love was portrait photography. Documenting the important, intimate moments in people’s lives brought me joy, and succeeding at bringing their personality out in a photograph made me so proud. I strived to coax a smile out of my subject, to let their natural beauty come across on film, to capture brightness in their eyes. In that way photography is such an empowering force. It has always felt like magic to me.
As I was building my skills as a photographer, I was also in nursing school and learning how to care for others. I built my photography business as I was beginning my nursing career, and somehow one began to inform the other. As a trauma nurse, I saw firsthand how quickly life could change or end, and how devastating death or illness can be for a patients’ loved ones, or for a patient themselves. So much of my job can be heartbreaking and I have watched patients and their families deal with so much change and so much pain, the loss of life or the loss of ability. Something that is common for healthcare providers and family members to do for trauma patients- specifically those with traumatic brain injuries – is put up photographs. It is an incredibly humanizing and grounding thing to see the life those patients have lived, the life that they lost, and the life that can also be regained. That experience only made my love and appreciation for photography stronger because it reinforced for me how important a photo can be. Memories are precious, and life is ever changing and oh so fleeting. Sometimes the only thing left are the photos, and they become treasured as memories of a life well lived or a time well enjoyed, and even of a person no longer present.
Through my business I’ve photographed people and families during some of the happiest moments of their lives. I’ve documented engagements, weddings, pregnancies, and family photos, and it brings me such a sense of pride and fulfillment to know that my art and my skill leaves my clients with timeless keepsakes. I’ve had clients reach out to me to ask for photos of a loved one from their wedding because they’ve had a death in the family and are hunting for all of the photos that they can find, and sometimes the photos I took are the last ones left. While it is incredibly painful to know that, it is also incredibly powerful and important that those happy and joyful moments were caught through the lens. It helps us keep those people around- keep the memories fresh and stop them from fading. How many times have you looked back at a photo from a happy time and smiled at the memory it brought back to you? Shouldn’t every happy moment come with beautiful photos that will bring you joyful memories? I certainly think so.