I remember this day so vividly. My mom’s 35mm Kodak point and shoot glued to my side, a splint on a sprained right pinky, an oversized Guess t-shirt, and my first encounter with a love of photography.
My sister and I took a long weekend trip to Gatlinburg, TN with my grandparents, and my mom agreed to part ways with her camera so that I could Ansel Adams my way through the Smoky Mountains.
I have memories of holding that viewfinder to my eye and framing up the waterfalls on our hike. The visions in my head were beautiful. They didn’t come across quite as beautifully as I had envisioned when I developed that roll of film, but you’ll have that.
Looking back, I don’t think I knew what was happening that day. I knew that I loved what I was doing. I knew that I could see things through that viewfinder that not everyone could. I knew that the clicking of that shutter made me feel alive.
I knew what I felt, but passion wasn’t a concept that I could fully grasp at such a young age. I didn’t understand that that is what I felt.
I didn’t know how this newly unearthed passion would impact my life in the years to come.
The aggressiveness and intentionality with which I have pursued photography has ebbed and flowed throughout my life. There has never been a time that I didn’t love it, but there have been times when I let that passion get buried by seemingly more important things.
But it’s always been there. It’s always set my heart on fire. The satisfaction and emotion I experience when I take a photo is not something that everyone understands.
When I look back through photos of my childhood, I frequently see pictures of myself holding a camera. Whether it was my mom’s Kodak from the 80s or a disposable camera or my first digital camera, it seems to always find itself in my hands.
I think as children, we are naturally inclined to do the things that we love. We don’t think of it in terms of a building a business or a career. We just know what we love, and we do those things frequently.
As an adult, though, it’s so telling to look back and see that what I loved was evident from such a young age.
Now that I’m fortunate enough to immerse myself in my passion every day, I couldn’t be more grateful for that girl in the baggy Guess t-shirt and jean shorts.
Because of her, I have the great privilege of serving other people and loving every second of it. I have the honor of contributing to one of the most important days of people’s lives.
Because of her, I’ve been able to connect with some truly incredible people because of my career path, and they have had such profound effects on not only my business but my life. It’s something I’m so grateful for, and it’s something I don’t take lightly.
My clients frequently express their gratitude after I’ve delivered their photos. What they don’t know, though, is that I am the lucky one. I cannot emphasize enough what a blessing it is to be able to pour into people’s lives through my business.
It’s humbling. It’s incredible. It’s life-changing. It’s my dream come true. If ten-year-old me would have only known what was happening that day, she would’ve slipped that camera around her wrist and high-fived herself. She made a life-changing discovery, and it would totally rock her world.