When I decided to start a photography business, I had big dreams. I wanted to be published in print magazines. I wanted to shoot weddings every weekend. I wanted my phone to ring off the hook. I wanted to be a “rock star”. And once the dreaming faded, making way for follow-through, reality set in. I probably would not be the second coming of Jasmine Star. I probably would not be commissioned to shoot a cover. But slowly, I realized that’s all OK. It’s OK because photography is my own personal journey. Running a business has forced me to learn so much about myself and what I’m truly passionate about. As it ends up, my passion is not money or fame, or attention; my passion is people. And I guess it always has been. From the beginning of my professional life as a news writer and to the awkward years of working at a country club when my writing contract expired, I’ve always loved people. I even loved them when I was on the receiving end of angry phone calls riddled with curse words when I had ordered someone’s water to be shut off. Yep, I was that lady. But I always prided myself on the ability to connect and empathize. I care about people, sometimes a little too much, but that’s what drives me. I want to make people happy. I want to be a part of their history, a part of their story. I love being a storyteller.
Like I said, photography is a journey. It’s a journey that continues to evolve every day. I’m not sure where it’ll take me in 10 years, or 5 years, or even 2 years. But I know where this journey was born– it was born in my heart where the passion for people lives. I might have had it all wrong in the beginning, but I think I’m headed in the right direction now. And I am so excited.
This session with the H Family encompasses so many of the things I love about my job. But mostly it’s a a perfect reflection of photography providing me the opportunity to be a part of a life and witnessing some of it’s greatest moments. I first met this family the night Adam returned home from Afghanistan to his wife Stephanie, who was pregnant with their daughter Audrey. Then I got to photograph Audrey’s newborn session where it was as clear as day that both sets of her grandparents are over-the-moon-in-love with this little girl. And then I photographed just the three of them one last time before the good ol’ Marine Corps sent them east. We used the San Diego Harbor as our backdrop, a more than perfect setting for a final farewell.
This session felt organic, authentic, and all things real– like buying tickets for the ferry to Coronado and killing time before our departure. Like watching Audrey take in the sights during her first trip on a boat and her parents doting on her like a living doll. Real things like killing more time at a pizza joint and drinking a beer, waiting for the ferry to take us back to San Diego. And then there was the head scratching when Stephanie couldn’t find her ticket and Adam bought another at the automatic kiosk. And finally, the chilly trip back to the other side of the harbor, watching this little family of three cuddled to keep warm, taking in America’s Finest skyline.
Now that you’ve read the outline, here is the H Family’s story as told through my eyes. And to Adam, Stephanie and Audrey– thank you so much for letting me be a very small part of your history. Enjoy!
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