I was an ugly duckling in high school; I admit it! I was a complete dork. I wore pants that didn’t fit quite right, I didn’t wear makeup, and I always had my hair up because I didn’t know how to style it (and arguably still don’t). To top it all off, I was (and am) an introvert. After school and sports, I much preferred to play by myself. So, altogether, it might seem odd on the surface that I chose a career in photography and working with people. But I think it’s perfect!
When I started in college, my instructors asked me what I and all the other students wanted to do as photographers. Most people answered that they wanted to work in fashion. I have to admit that there is something appealing about appearing on Canada’s Next Top Model as the famed international fashion photographer. But when our instructors started encouraging us to use exclusively the photos of our most conventionally good looking clients in our portfolios because “that shows the world the type of people you want to work with” I was actually a little bit offended. What about people like me? The self-proclaimed geek with the clip-on sunglasses who refused to wear jeans whenever possible. Did people like me not deserve to be photographed?
For me, the answer to that question was no! I hated being photographed. So being the photographer always worked very nicely for me, because I was always behind the camera instead of in front of it. But in my, now, 10 years in business working with normal people, I’ve come to learn that I was so wrong.
This year, in an effort to become more clear on why I do what I do, I’ve rewritten my mission statement. (OK, I wrote it from scratch.) I want to answer that question that so many people ask when I tell them that I’m a photographer: “So… You photograph weddings…?!” It’s not enough to tell them that I photograph weddings… and families… and business people… and a myriad of other subject matter, because that doesn’t fully describe what it is that I do and why I feel so passionately about doing it. The truth is that I don’t feel over-the-moon passionately about photographing weddings… or families… or business people for that matter. I am passionate about photographing people. More specifically, people who are living the life that makes them ridiculously happy, and not trying to live the life they imagine influencers on Instagram are living.
And to get started, I think we have to go way back. Way back to 1957. The year my grandparents were married. A story that you may have heard before…
I never met my mother’s parents. They both passed before I was born, but from the stories my mother has told me about them, I imagine that they are primarily responsible for my sense of humour. And thanks to many (many) photographs like in their wedding album, I can put faces to their shenanigans playing out in my mind.
Family photos are powerful! They house all of the feelings we have for the people in them. Whether it’s a big life event like your wedding or your yearly portrait with your growing kids, photos have deep meaning to the people in them and to the people who love the people in them. Most people know this… But most people don’t like having their photo taken.
It’s one of the biggest expenses on our wedding checklist or that thing we know we need to do because our mothers won’t stop nagging us about it. And yet, we can’t seem to bring ourselves to imagine enjoying those photos of ourselves. And we definitely don’t want to stand in front of the camera while we agonize over how bad we’ll look in those photos when we finally get them back from the photographer.
I say “we,” because that was me. I was one of those people. I thought I wasn’t photogenic, and I didn’t understand why my friends kept insisting that those photos of the redhead with the wonky eyebrows, crooked smile, and muffin top looked “just like me.” It took some work, but I eventually started to see what they were talking about. That I didn’t have to look like the women on Instagram to look good. That no amount of dieting, makeup, or contorting my body into uncomfortable positions makes me look better than I do when I’m laughing hysterically.
This is my mission. It is to help the beautiful, hilarious, and talented people I work with see themselves the way their family and friends do. It is to help them slow down. It is to help them embed these ridiculous memories in their minds; to help them recall every taste, touch, and smell from our time together… To help them laugh a little bit harder. It is to help them feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera and to help them carry those feelings of confidence into the rest of their lives.
So, my friend, if you are looking for a local photographer who looks at you like a human being rather than a sale, I am the girl you want to speak with. Please tap here to get in touch with me. I can’t wait to help you with this whole photography thing!