It took me years to understand why I love photography and light. I believe I was given the gift to see good light and use it in photos so that I can give people tangible keepsakes. And I do it with the understanding that those photos might not be fully appreciated until time has passed, perhaps years. I’m happy knowing they’ll become priceless over time, and I’m honored to be part of that process. Someday, maybe 100 years from now someone in your family will have your photos. They’ll turn them over in their hands to see what’s written on the back (that’s what we do, right?) and they’ll know they’re holding pieces of history that are beyond price. I know this because I’ve experienced it. I am the keeper of the priceless memories in my family.
So, a little about me…I’m a wife, mother of four, I grew up riding horses, and I also won a state and world title in ballroom dancing by the time I was 16. I’ve known my two best friends since we were born, and laughter is an essential part of my life. I love God, my family, rain, Jane Austen novels, how sunsets are different every day, and the first 50mm 1.4 prime lens I ever owned.
I’ve been photographing weddings since 1998, portraits since 92. I began my journey with film although now I mostly shoot digital, I believe in keeping film alive so I still shoot a roll at weddings or in my personal work.
Looking back, I see that my path to photography started when I was a child. I was raised in a home that subscribed to National Geographic magazine so I was saturated with good photography from an early age. My parents liked to travel, and since I was the youngest of my 3 older siblings (by 14 years), I had the opportunity to go with my parents to many of the places I saw in those magazines. When I was in high school, I was in Europe with my best friend and our parents. Her dad – who was a professional photographer – gave her one of his old cameras to use on the trip. As I watched her taking pictures, I had an overwhelming feeling that someday I would be a photographer. I’ve never forgotten that moment and what the day was like, the sky, the angle of the sunlight, the sound of our feet as we walked on the crushed gravel path outside of Versailles. Some memories are so strong we carry them within us our entire life.
My father gave me the first professional camera I owned, the Nikon F2A. I cut my photographic teeth on one of the finest 35mm film cameras, and I still have it. I’ve taken that rig all over the world, I shot my first wedding with it, manual focus and all.
My love for photography grew out of my love for the past; my memories are preserved by photographs. The feelings evoked from just one image can be very powerful, and I think that’s why people love looking at their family photos. They take us back and grant us time to feel those moments again, to learn about our history and who came before us.
Ansel Adams said:
“We don’t make a photograph just with a camera; we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.” -Ansel Adams
To that, I will add, and the depths to which I feel joy, sorrow, loss, and love. The longer I live and see the world in all its tainted glory the more I appreciate life, the raggedness of the rough edges, the sweetness of the small everyday moments.
Remember that your photographs will be passed down through generations, it’s important to preserve them through print for people to hold. Make them last, so your great-great grandchildren will have the chance to know you, your smiles and laughter and life. Priceless indeed.