A self portrait with my dog, Baron. “ Technicolor Cohorts” 2014

A self portrait with my dog, Baron. “Technicolor Cohorts” 2014

I remember back when I was little, in the coldest months of the year, sliding a chair up to the edge of the heat vent of my bedroom and using a huge blanket to create a funnel to direct all of the warm, cozy air up around me as I sat reading stories for hours at a time. I loved mysteries most of all, but I also loved the fantastic characters and scenes from books like The Hobbit and Watership Down. I would do the same thing, too, with our family photo albums…sit and go through the same books full of hundreds of pictures, time and time again. They told stories, too, just in a different way.

Beginning in 2013, I decided to explore photography as a hobby and used a 52 week self portrait series as my motivation to create something…anything, each week. As a former Biology major with no formal art training and new ideas popping into my head each week, I became self-taught in both the camera and Photoshop, in order to create the images I envisioned. Most never materialized on the screen exactly as they had appeared in my head, but others came out better than I imagined. It was an exciting process to realize, after a lifetime of thinking that artists were born, that actually they were made through effort and failure…to realize that creativity is cultured through practice. I’m still in the process of feeling that I deserve that title for myself…an artist…a creative. Without a degree in art declaring it so, I can only keep working until those terms no longer feel like I should be referring to someone else.

Less than a year into my self portrait venture, I stumbled into photography as a profession when I was asked to shoot weddings and portraits for people who had seen my artwork. I worked with lots of wonderful people and stretched myself way outside of my introverted comfort zone, which naturally drew me towards the solitude of a cozy room with a good story. I was proud of myself, but with more work came less personal art. The creative expression that I had loved so much at the beginning was dwindling and I found myself longing for a few more hours to appear each day so I could create without the pressures and expectations of others. I wanted to feel free to spend time on things that no one else might ever enjoy but me, and to have that be okay. It was nerve damage in both of my arms that developed in 2016 after a year with too many weddings, that my body forced me to start cutting back on client-based work. My deep desire to please my clients caused me to push myself too far each time I picked up the camera, plus I wanted more time for my personal work anyways…

…So, in 2019, I stopped offering my photography services and took the big, scary leap of calling myself an “artist”. I take photos and melt them with stories. Through the retouching services that I offer, I restore and preserve the history of others and bring them back to life through colorization. I’m letting myself find a way to fit my adult career into the groove of my childhood interests. It’s comfortable and yet completely scary at the same time, opening up my work to the criticism of the internet and feeling presumptuous using the title, “artist”. (It has been so very awkward just writing this bio!) But, I hope that my images make you pause for a minute and smile, or wonder, or even laugh. Meanwhile, I’ll be hanging out with my husband and our dogs and cats, probably in a cozy blanket, maybe over a heat vent, but definitely enjoying a good story in one form or another…