So, during my off seasons, I love attending workshops and seminars to improve my craft. I especially loooove the workshops on Creative Live! Today I watched my first session (of three) of Marcus Bells Wedding Photo workshop, a photographer who’s work and personality I truly admire (check it out here http://studioimpressions.com.au/home/). He had a contest asking viewers to submit their stories on how they got into photography, why they love it and what pushes them to keep shooting.. I thought I’d share my response…
I came upon photography by chance, I have fond memories of rummaging through my grand fathers closets and looking through his old photographs and glass slides for hours on end. I’ve always been in love with his work, from a young child and maybe this was what inspired me to be a photographer. When I was 19, after pursuing a career in dance for 18 years, my body began to break down with constant back spasms and aching foot pain that felt like someone parked their car on my foot! Who knew that I actually had a collapsed metatarsal that was left untreated for almost a year, causing significant foot damage. When the day came that I could no longer dance, no longer express myself in the way my body knew how, I was broken and devastated. I felt that all hope was lost, that nothing, nowhere and no one could fill the void that ballet had left. After leaving the company I was training with at the time, I felt like I had lost my identity. A couple weeks later, entirely out of the blue I had a strange new desire to buy a camera, to photograph and document my quickly changing world, I had no intention of pursuing photography. I planned it out one day, went for a walk into a local camera store with 5$ and a copy of my credit report. Applied for a credit card, bought my first camera, a Canon Rebel with an 18-55mm zoom. It never left my side for 3 years, I photographed everything. Everyone I met, every experience I was having, the good and bad, the new and unfamiliar. In this time, I felt that familiar creative spark reappear. People started complimenting my images and I was getting good positive feedback, this is when I fell in love. For the first time in my life, my passion, my joy made me truly unbearably happy and the comments I got from others were positive, constructive and helped me grow as a person, unlike the comments I received in the dance world. I enrolled at Dawson College in Montreal, extended my two year program to three and graduated with top marks on my final portfolio. That was 4 years ago and I’m still as outrageously passionate today about photography as I was the day I got my very first SLR. I think my passion in life shows in my photographs. I love sharing this passion and joy with others, whether it be teaching, shooting or volunteering. I absolutely love shooting weddings and even though I really look up to Marcus Bell, I feel like I can relate to Mr. Bell in feeling so utterly honoured to be a part of such an important day in peoples lives. My photo work has taken a new direction this year, as I’ve committed over 400 hours of volunteer photo work. I use the funds I get from my wedding work to fuel my volunteer work with the Tiny Light foundation but mainly with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. A non-profit organization that provides no charge professional photography for families facing the death of a child. About once a week (sometimes 2-3 times a week) I go to hospitals in my area, or sometimes travel on my own dime, to families who have lost a son or daughter or are about to take their child off life support and I photograph the last moments of the childs life and the last seconds mothers and fathers have with their infants. To preserve their essence, their memory and to give families beautiful tangible memories of their beloved. This commitment has taught me more about myself than I could have possible imagined. It’s taught me selflessness, how to be truly altruistic and how to live a life not simply for myself. It’s allowed me to fully open up my heart, despite how hard the circumstances may be as I know I’m providing a generous gift for others. This is what inspires me to keep shooting, to see the changes that I can put forth into the world through my talents and abilities. Knowing that what I’m doing is making a difference.