How Photography Saved My Life
Photography has brought something amazing into my life so I thought it would be appropriate to share my motivation for this transition from wildlife and nature photography to the field of portraitures and engagement lifestyle images. Like so many other avid hobbyists and professionals I was taking images as a youngster and then life got in the way and other interests including a Master’s degree, a career which has allowed me to do travel around the world not once but twice, and help thousands of children and families who were in pretty serious albeit tragic situations. I’ve worked in the field of childwelfare particularly abuse & neglect for over thirty-years. It is a grueling and difficult field to be in for any length of time. The sadness, violence, depression, deceitfulness, lack of opportunities are a but a few of the issues faced by the families I worked with day-in-and-day-out. I physically removed children from abused and neglectful home situations, held a thirteen month old child as they unplugged the life support system after sustaining a beating from his mother, walked with thousands of young men and women from the ages of very young to eighteen as they overcame to some degree the vestiges of their tragic home life but I could never be sure. I could never see if I’ve helped them. How do you tell if your counseling, coaching, advice, and the decisions to split families up which I’ve made on their behalf these children and families actually helped them? Unless they take the time to look you up later in life I will never know. I didn’t realize how much I’ve been involved in separating lives and trying to put them together again.
A few years ago I responded to an article in our paper to attend a bird watching hike at a local county park. Intrigued by challenge of locating and identifying birds I used my point-and-shoot camera to capture images and use those images to identify my subjects. After a few excursions to parks and investing in field guides, binoculars et al I slowly began to realize that it wasn’t bird watching that was of an interest to me. It was photographing the birds that I was interested in. The rest as they say is history. From there it was a purchase of more and more equipment. Hours of reading, watching podcasts, joining clubs and a national association and of course taking image after image. Trying to achieve photographs of similar technical competence as accomplished photographers was the goal I set for myself. This is the first step in becoming a skilled photographer. Now, how photography has saved my life. I think I now have the photographic skills that allow me to do something really special. Something that is really really special.
I can now capture a moment in the life of someone. A physical tangible manifestation of their story, their life, this one moment in time captured for perpetuity. Seeing the client look at their pictures and weep, laugh, sigh, smile, and or cry has crystalized something for me that a career of working with families and children has not done in over 40 years: I think I am a story teller trying to capture the emotion, feeling, stories that are part of YOUR life. I want to capture the joy and love in families and people – not the trauma.
My tag line “ Let me tell your story . . .” it energizes me to work hard to ensure that I fulfil my promise to others – and perhaps a promise to myself to capture digitally and in-print your story.