I’m an independent photographer, working with a mix of editorial, corporate, and private clients.
I have always loved photography. I’ve known I wanted to do it professionally since I was 16; it was the only thing that really spoke to me. Early on, I wanted to travel the world doing documentary work. I realized pretty quickly that it would be very difficult to support myself that way.
I worked at a series of photography-related jobs. I worked in labs; I was an assistant to a catalog photographer; I did newspaper work. Then I started shooting weddings. I shot them in black and white, documentary-style. That style felt truest to me.
I did that for about eight years in San Francisco, and it was great. The couples were happy. I loved spending hours in the darkroom. But the work dried up with the Internet bust. I came back East, worked on a newspaper for a few years, and met my husband. We moved to New Haven for his job. And I started doing freelance work, mostly for universities and schools.
The work slowed down when I had my kids. I never stopped shooting, but my priorities definitely shifted. We’ve been in New York now for seven years, and it’s a challenge. We live in the East Village, where it seems like everyone is shooting something all the time.
The mom and the photographer in me are always fighting each other. There are so many responsibilities and only so much time in the day—get the laundry done, get all the forms signed, volunteer at school. I’m like an octopus, going in a million directions.
I meet really cool people when I’m working. But being at home a lot, by myself, it’s easy to feel isolated. I like to talk about my work with my kids, so they know and understand what I do. I want them, especially my daughter, to know that it matters a lot to me. It really is a huge part of my identity.
The business I’m building now is focused on documentary family work—kind of a day in the life, catching relationships and little moments. It’s really exciting to me. I feel like I’m coming full circle, back to the photojournalism of my wedding photography days, but capturing the beauty in the daily lives of ordinary families.
I’m not sure what it means, to “make it”—for me, the reward is just doing it. I chose this career because I thought I could make a difference with it. Maybe I don’t make a difference in the way I originally thought I would when I was young, by shedding light on poverty or war. But I touch the regular person. I give families the gift of reflecting their true lives back to them.
Interviewed on Feb 28, 2018