I asked myself one question... Why not?

I believe I've been put on this earth for so much more than waking up, going to work, paying my bills, and sleeping to do it all over again the next day. I believe that life should be filled with things that make us happy and keep us inspired. I believe its important to push ourselves to grow throughout our lives. I never want to be stagnant and I never want to quit learning. Photography continually pushes me to be a better, more creative, more lively, more open-minded person. It causes me to pause, to follow my creative itches, and to fearlessly and boldly make art. It is my version of freedom, and it makes me happier than any other hobby ever has– and that is why I turned my hobby into a career.

This business is something I take so much pride in. It all started as a crazy idea, and now I'm here writing my first blog post for my business' website... I proved to myself that it is possible for me to create something great from nothing at all, all on my own. As an overly independent person (sometimes to a fault), I was determined to do all of this myself. I bought all of my equipment, taught myself how to use a camera, studied and practiced using editing software, acquired a business license and learned how to network with people in my community. I've created all of my own branding and brand aesthetic, and researched the art of photography more than I've ever researched anything before. I still have SO much to learn, but I'm genuinely proud of how far I've come since the beginning of this journey. I'm proud to have seen something so big and so intimidating actually come into fruition because I chose to see it through. That is a feeling of pride that I've never felt before.

After graduating with a Creative Writing in English degree, my plan was to move home and work towards becoming a full-time registered longshoreman. I never expected myself to be working in the manual labor/blue collar industry, but to my surprise, after working my first handful of jobs during my breaks from school, I realized how much I genuinely enjoyed the work. It is dirty, dangerous, and daunting... and it is a field dominated by men. However, I've never felt satisfaction like the kind I felt when I realized that my girly, 5'2" self could do any job the men did, and I'd argue sometimes even better.

I saw this job as a challenge, with opportunities for growth and possibilities of providing a comfortable life for my future family one day. I worked my butt off, and set my intentions on getting registered, joining the union, and making a whooooole bunch of money. After a total of seven years in the industry, I made all of those things happen. And yet... something was still missing from my life. I felt uninspired, bored, and exhausted– with nothing to show for it. This brings me to 01/20/2023... a day that would inevitably change the trajectory of my life forever.

I was working the night shift, driving semi-hustler for a finishing ship. We were moving quick, hoping for an early night off so we could get more than a couple of hours of sleep before the dayshift rolled around. Amongst the hustle and bustle, the naturally chaotic environment, and the middle of the night sleepiness hitting us all in the face, my hustler was unknowingly hoisted into the air by the crane, and dropped nose-first onto the dock. As a union that prides itself on strict and efficient safety protocol, this was something I never expected to happen to me. I'm grateful the incident wasn't worse, but the thought of 'my life could have ended tonight' rang in my ears for days on weeks on months to no end. My physical injuries subsided after a few weeks, but my mental injuries were permanent, growing worse and worse by the day. The confident, hard-working, fearless longshore(wo)man I once knew myself as simply no longer existed. Instead, I felt shameful, anxious, fearful, embarrassed, hopeless and severely depressed. I spent months and months and months at home alone, struggling for money, afraid of my future, and slowly but surely losing my will to not only live a good, fulfilling life, but my will to even live at all. What was the point? I had nothing going for me, I was a financial burden on my wife and parents, and I was mentally too damaged to see the situation any different. But then... I remembered I had a camera. 

It was a vlogging camera I bought in 2020 when the pandemic first hit. I made YouTube videos for a couple of years with that camera, and amongst my depression, I lost interest in that hobby. A friend of mine from the port wanted me to take photos on my phone for her at her baby shower, but I wanted to do something good again... I wanted to do something more than just exist. I felt the need, the desire... to create.

So, I bought a new lens for my camera without a clue on how to use it, I showed up to the baby shower, and I took photos of the event from start to finish. I took detail shots, candid shots, artistic shots, group shots... and girllllll when I tell you I was feeling my OATS... I became a PHOTOGRAPHER that day. And in my true ADHD fashion, I went all-in.

After that night, I bought all the Adobe platforms, I created a client gallery, I made so many cups of coffee, and I stayed up for a solid three days while I learned the ins and outs of editing. That gallery is my very first gallery I posted on my Pixiset account... and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever created. (Looking back... oof... but that is neither here nor there!!!) What matters the most is that in my time of doubt and fear, I genuinely believed that I'd found something I was truly good at. From there, I began offering free and low-cost photoshoots to friends and family, each one becoming my newest favorite, my best work, my proudest gallery to date. In the couple of years following, I grew upon the skills I was learning, and the passion behind them. One day, something finally clicked. I started off charging $100 for a single photoshoot, and have worked my way up to where I am today, with multiple packages at multiple price points for MANY different kinds of sessions. I am so proud of that growth, mostly because I didn't have a guideline or an end game... I just simply wanted to create, and that I did. I probably took a couple of years off my life in the amount of sleep I've lost since that first photoshoot, but I can't imagine what my life would look like today without this art… without my art.

Being back at work now, I somehow appreciate my photography business even more. I don’t have an employer, a payroll system, a team, or a schedule. I just have me. And for the first time in my life, I genuinely feel like me is enough. I am capable of creating great, beautiful things. I am capable of making people’s memories a tangible thing. I am capable of connecting with humans I’ve never met before by seeing them at their most vulnerable, and showing them how truly beautiful their existence is. As a client, and now dear friend of mine, once said about me: “She will make your photo dreams come true.”

Whether you’re a client, a family member, a friend, or a stranger on the internet– thank you for being here, and WELCOME to my little corner of the internet that I get to call ‘home.’