Have you ever compared the things you lack with another's abundance? We all do it at some point in our lives, and I'm guilty of it. The Summer of 2000 forever changed me. I was at a friend's house and I was drawn to the beautiful family photos artistically hung on her wall. I realize then what I lacked in my own home. I didn't have any newborn portraits of myself, no embarrassing images for my mom to show my friends (thank goodness), or a single snapshot where my father, mother, and siblings were all together. That summer gave me the determination to write my own personal history through photography and consistent journal entries.
The lack of childhood photos is the root of my love & obsession with photography. Since I grew up in a humble home, my family and I couldn't afford cameras or conveniences like that. I would save up my pennies to buy disposable film cameras here and there to take pictures, but was really limited as to what to photograph since I only had around 27 frames per roll.
In college, an amazing large format photographer/student asked me to model for her art and photography capstone project. It was then that I fell in love with her work, her vision, and I was totally head over heels about photography. I still couldn't afford a camera with barely getting by as a poor college student, but I remember researching about photography and loving it. Since I didn't know where to begin and I had my college major to worry about, I put aside photography. It just wasn't the right time for me.
Many years later in 2008, after I had graduated from Brigham Young University, a family member was selling an old digital camera. I saved my pennies again and bought the camera. It was a Nikon D80 with a 35mm prime lens. I was so clueless. I remember thinking “this camera is broken,” since it wouldn't zoom in or out. (fyi: prime lens, whose focus length is fixed and do not zoom in or out.) With camera in hand I began school at New York Institute of Photography. I later dropped out and claim to be self taught. I consider my greatest schooling to be the personal experience I've received from trial and error and lots and lots of practice.
I learned that failure is not always a mistake and the real tragedy is when we stop trying. Every day there is something new to learn and there will always be room for improvements.
Then in 2010, I knew I was ready. I dreamed big, took a risk, opened my heart to the world, and began my slow journey as a wedding and portrait photographer. My goal, then and now, is to be an artist that documents life and love in a simple, beautiful, real, and unique way.
I've traveled to some of the most remote, stunning, inspiring, and amazing places in the world… all in the name of photography. It has truly been a wonderful journey to create a better me, a better photographer, and a better documentary artist.