What sparked your interest in photography? Do you remember an early moment in your journey here?
My interest in photography was sparked way back when I was about 6 or 7. I was always fascinated by art, having grown up with an uncle who was a painter and collector of art books that eventually found their way to our house after he died. I would get lost flipping through the pages when I was little. I would try to pretend I was in the scene myself and sometimes imagined an Alice In Wonderland type of world. When I discovered my mother’s old Life magazines from the 60s and 70s, I literally fell in love with one photograph by Lewis Hine that captured a small girl working in a cotton mill. It was then that photography took on a whole new meaning for me; a photograph can capture more than just a moment in time, it can capture such emotion as well.
What do you love about this career?
I love that being self-employed means I have freedom. I determine my schedule, which allows me to take time for my family and for self-care. I can always skip a day of work and make it up in the evenings if needed, and I don’t feel restricted or confined. I'm a very active person, so being stuck in one place for 40 hours a week wouldn't function for me. The other thing I love about what I do is the people I meet. I've worked with some amazing teams in the past and made lasting friendships. I get to see new places, meet new faces, and experience things that I never would have if I weren't a photographer. I feel very lucky!
What jobs have you had other than working as a photographer?
I went to music school for jazz trumpet performance. I worked as a piano instructor for eight years, played in many bands/combos, and was making my living mostly from music up until my daughter was born. I also managed a coffee shop, worked as a barista at another, am a certified behavioral specialist and worked with children with mental and physical disabilities, and worked at a local natural food co-op for a few years until I was able to take my photography business full-time.
Is there an individual who helped you in a transformative way at some point in your career?
I would say my husband has been a huge mentor for me. He really pushed me to believe in myself and saw the talent I had, that I couldn’t see. He was the first one to call me an artist, something that I struggled with for a long time. But as soon as I let go of my fear around that label, I have been able to believe in myself more and see my work for what it truly is, and also what I want it to be in the future.
Do you have any advice for young job-seekers?
My advice to young job-seekers is to figure out your true path—what brings you joy and what you truly love to do. I believe it has to be a part of yourself.
Also, know that you may need to compromise for a little bit and work another less-gratifying job while you are following your true path, just to make ends meet. And that’s okay…actually, that’s totally normal. Don’t get bogged down by it.
A version of this interview first appeared on the website HAPPY AND HEARTWORKING on May 31, 2014.