I have always been a lover of moments, connection, and emotion. Ever since I was a kid, a camera in hand, I loved snapping moments of my childhood, plastering photos all over my teal sponge-painted room. Collages covered every square-inch of my walls, under my desk, and within frames. Poetry written in black & white notebooks about good times, bad times, and everything in between. Scrapbooking and short stories and crocheting. You see, the artist has always been within me, pounding against the walls of human flesh. I had always been pointed down a road of ordinary and normalcy, of what was expected, what would bring stability and financial security. Find a job, they told me, and maintain a career for 30 years, and you’ll live a good life. But I am not a square. I am not a person easily molded into the perfect worker-bee – working an 8 to 5 job. I crave finding the answers on my own. I am a creative, a thinker, a planner, a problem solver, a doer. I don’t let anyone stop me from chasing my dreams, no matter how wild or far-fetched they are. I don’t like playing it “safe” and I don’t mind throwing “stability and normal” to the wind. I am not a straight-edged scholar, but a jagged line, learning from trial and error, dusting myself off when I fall, and trying again and again until I make my own success. I don’t color inside the lines, but dart sporadically like a wild child into my next adventure, awaiting anxiously to see how it unfolds. I don’t strive for perfection; I strive to be me. To be heard. To be seen for who I am.
I grew up in sunny Southern California – in the suburbs of the Inland Empire – Claremont, CA. A town that did not house fast food, with one high school, and one junior high (but ironically enough – had eight colleges). I loved capturing my memories of hanging out with my friends, rollerblading down to the ice cream shop, and laying out by the pool. But even as a kid, I remember capturing the candid moments; the things I wanted to remember other than someone’s face or the activity we were doing. It’s funny, I’ve always loved taking photographs, but I never thought about taking a class until after college. I left home at 17 to attend California State University, Fresno, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology, with an emphasis in Law Enforcement. It had always been my dream to become an Investigator (I love puzzles and mysteries) and became a Private Investigator. During that same time I had a brief stint with “Picture People” as an extra “fun” job since I loved taking photos, but after a few months my full-time job became too busy and I resigned. After my husband and I married in 2008, I received a point-and-shoot fuji camera from my in-laws – and there my obsession with photography unfolded, practicing whenever I could, capturing family portraits for friends and family on occasion. I dabbled in the business side of photography, always with one-foot-in since I already had a full time job, but it’s something that has always nagged at me and pulled on my heart strings (even till this day).
I didn’t get where I am now by chance or by God-given talent, but hard work, perseverance, practice, and positivity. Don’t let me fool you – that hasn’t come without self doubt, unworthiness, resistance, and fear of not being “good enough”. I don’t have technical training. I am not a numbers girl. I can’t rattle off shutter speeds or read a histogram, or achieve the perfect paint-by-numbers skin tones. I shoot from the heart and follow my instincts, trying to preserve the beauty around me. It’s taken 9-long-years to bloom into the artist I’ve always dreamed of becoming, but never thought I could. Working full time as a Private Investigator, supporting a husband through law school, raising two girls mostly alone as I supported my spouse to follow his dreams while he worked full time from a self-made business and attended law school an hour away from home each night. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. It pushed me. It challenged me. It broke me down only to build me back up wiser, tougher, and stronger.
In 2017 I threw myself against the wolves and dove deep into a 365-photo journey of exploration, self worth, and individuality. And through this, I found my calling. My passion that burns long and deep within me to create, explore, and inspire others. Not just with my photography, but with words, and connection, and friendship. I finally found the nerve to retire from investigations to live for my passion as an artist, as a mom, as a wife, as a doer, as a believer. I desperately wanted to follow this path that consumed my mind and fulfilled my heart.
This year I pledged to myself that I would make 2018 “epic”. That I would step outside-the-box and really explore myself as an artist. As a friend. As a confidant. As a leader. I promised that I wouldn’t be afraid of failing (although the thought of failure still brings on the anxiety). But like I tell my girls and my husband: if you never go after what you want, if you never ask; the answer is always NO! So I’m asking, I’m doing, and I’m going after my dreams and completing the many (many) projects that fill my head and heart. My goal this year is to learn as much as I possibly can – whether it be business or shooting more technically, learning and mastering a new trick, and learning how to teach others. I want to soak it all in and keep pushing my limits – as there is always room for growth. So I hope you come along with me on this wild journey. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
So, now I ask you – what are your goals this year? Choose a word that you want to define your year (yes, I know we are half way through, but since I’m a glass half full kinda-gal, you still have 6-months left to make it happen!!) Leave your word (and/or goals) in the comments below!!
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