Little Steps to Making a Big Difference

From as far back as I can remember, photography has always been an important aspect of my life. Even as a small child, I was fascinated by seeing photographs of my parents and grandparents when they were younger. I imagined what it was like to be there at the moment the photograph was taken and loved hearing stories pertaining to each photograph.

My love of images and stories blossomed from my mother reading to me as a child. Dr. Suess books were my favorite. I enjoyed how the words and drawings made the characters come alive in my mind. The funny moments resulted in Mom and I having some pretty awesome belly laughs. The sad moments often made me feel so sorry for the characters that I would end up in tears. This is one of my favorite memories.

I knew from a young age that I have an active imagination and love of creativity. Since I was a very quiet child who prefer playing within her own mind, I found it comforting to occasionally live in a world that I created for each of my dolls. Each one of them had their own unique story, a life of their own. I would hold the doll in my hand, close my eyes and picture them living as a human being in the real world.  I was engrossed in their lives, fascinated by what might happen next. I created memories for them that became just as important to me as my own memories. To me, they were part of my family. And it was fun exploring someone else’s world, even if that person was imaginary.

As a teenager, I outgrew dolls and became fascinated with preserving my own memories. I started by writing in a diary and carrying around a tape recorder in order to record things like family voices, sounds of nature in our backyard, random songs from the radio or what was currently on TV.  At the age of 16, I moved on to recording moments using both a Polaroid camera and video camera. For many years, I rarely went anywhere without them and rarely missed a day writing in my diary. Not only did I want to remember what everything looked and sounded like, I wanted to remember how everything made me feel. Writing as much of my life on paper as possible became just as important to me as taking photographs and shooting video.

In my late teenage years and early 20s, I started wondering what I would do with my life. I always thought of photography as a hobby and never considered it as a career. I was far too quiet and shy and struggled with confidence when it came to speaking with people. What I was confident in was my math skills. I also had a fascination with storms. So, I combined the two and decided that I should be a Meteorologist. During my time studying Meteorology, I was fortunate to join the study abroad program at St. Cloud State University and spend a semester in Europe. This was a turning point in my life as I was forced to be in social situations that challenged me and sometimes made me extremely uncomfortable. Pushing myself to socialize with strangers and travel to places I’ve never been with people I hardly knew was eye-opening and transformed me into a confident adult.

In 2005, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology with a minor in Math. But shortly after, I realized it wasn’t my dream. I saw a different path for my life and decided to take it. I knew it would make me a happier person, and I was right. Long story short, I went back to school and received my Bachelor’s degree in Photography from the Art Institutes International Minnesota in 2010.

Since 2010, I have photographed over 50 weddings, countless portrait sessions, sporting events such as volleyball and gymnastics tournaments, and numerous charity events. I have also had the honor to assist many talented photographers whom I admire. It makes me giddy sometimes when I think about how I have combined my childhood dreams and aspirations into a career that I continue to be more and more passionate about every single day. I am so grateful. And it fascinates me to become part of someone’s world and care as much about their memories as they do. I adore watching people express their love for one another in a comfortable and natural way. The little steps I took on this path were not always easy, but they made a big difference in my life. I am excited to discover what is down the road!

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2 thoughts on “Little Steps to Making a Big Difference

  1. A fitting first post for one of my most respected and talented photography colleagues! Just had to be the first to post and say I look forward to watching your blog grow. I know the fun and love that goes into your work and expect to read some great stories here Sarah. Carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

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