Someone recently asked me if I have gone to school or have formal training in photography. I am so glad they did, because it got me thinking about my own artistic journey thus far. Before I get to the answer, I'll start with a bit of the backstory.
Some of you already know that when I met and fell in love with my husband, I was teaching second grade in a small Catholic school on the upper west side of Manhattan. You can catch more of details on my time as a Lasallian Volunteer here and here. I was head over heels (and yes, I used to teach in high heels) for teaching and serving young children. I poured my heart and soul into my classroom and my students. I could think of nothing else I'd rather do with my life. So I continued to teach and completed my Masters in Special Education at Manhattan College. In my very few moments of spare time (it was a 1.5 hour commute one way), I managed to take a photography course in the city and used my film SLR camera to preserve the beauty I saw in all things - especially my students. I loved each one of them and tried to capture their personalities and freeze their childhood innocence. I always found an excuse to bring my camera to the playground and incorporate photography into classroom projects and our art curriculum.
After our wedding and three different states and teaching jobs later, I became pregnant with our first born. I happened to be in the middle of a state teaching licensure degree program that required six months of student teaching. Shortly after Audrey was born, I returned to the classroom and finished up the degree. I was proud to earn the teaching certification, but my heart remained at home and I quickly realized that I no longer felt called to teach.
My creativity and passion for photography exploded during that time at home with Audrey. It was then that I started honing my craft: studying my camera and teaching myself how to shoot manually.
Around that time I also discovered the amazing amount of educational blogs, forums and virtual creative classrooms. I still can't quite get enough! For the past five years, I've invested countless hours taking photography courses on CreativeLive, one of the most influential classrooms for creative professionals. If I didn't have three little ones, I am certain I'd spend a much larger percentage of my day learning and practicing my craft because I am inspired to create tangible images of the love and joy I find in this world.
At 35, I have come to realize that I have a deep and profound love affair with photography. I feel called to reflect the beauty I see in others through still imagery. With everyone I meet and know, I feel a stirring to document their story and give them the gift of the small amount of time and talent God has granted me.
And if you have taken time to read this far, know that I am beyond grateful for your support! While I often feel the fear of failure that I will fall short representing the true beauty I find in all of you, these days I find solace in my pursuit of progress and not perfection. Thank you all for sharing in my journey this far.
So to answer the original question... I don't hold a degree in photography, but I do hold a true love and passion for photography that knows few boundaries. Last month, I took the leap of faith and have started my official pursuit of professional photography and this weekend, thanks to my generous and loving husband, I will continue my journey at a highly sought after photography workshop. I will join ten other women as we continue to grow, learn and chase our dreams down the creative and beautiful path of self-expression.
I hope to return Monday, oozing with excitement, images and stories to share with all of you.
Enough about me, what's more important is your love story... what's your passion, the one thing you'd do in life, given endless amounts of time, resources and opportunities you would be doing today? The one thing that brings you crazy happiness? When and how did you discover your true love? I'd love to hear!