my start in photography - 29 years tomorrow

the question i get asked the most is…"so how did you get started in photography?"

i love to share this story because the "start" came about with 2 people that i have always adored.

are you ready to walk with me down memory lane?  :))

29 years ago tomorrow, my grandmother beat me to the ringing phone in the wee hours of the morning.  "girls???"  she sd.  "both of them are girls?"

i squealed at the top of my lungs -"SISTERS."

from that moment, my life would never be the same. 


from the beginning, we held a mutual adoration for one another. 

i was eleven years older than the girls that i did everything with.

they went on dates with me…we had slumber parties in my bedroom...

we had special shopping trips together...

we made fun out of everything.

all their friends would come with us too...

chinese fire drills in the bilo parking lot (i had to be a responsible, but fun big sister right?)...

oh, and by the way, my mom had a 35mm camera.

it just started like that.

one day, i pulled the camera out and started shooting. 

they were so identical.

i loved playing that up, and trying different and unique ways to capture them. 

i would take my film to revco (whoooaaa…film and revco….this is starting to date things isn't it?)

and the pictures would be returned to me with notes on them...

"are you a professional???"

"these are really good!"

wow!  i got notes from the lab techs on my pictures….

so i took more….

shannon, sherri and i would spend entire days together shooting.  the memories we have of those times are so precious. somehow, with that camera between us, our souls touched one another in even a deeper way.

one day, i picked up my pictures, that i had this time, taken to walmart.  

the photo manager came out to see me and asked me if i was a professional.

"ummm…no - but thank you for that compliment!"

she replied.." well if you love it like it looks like you do, you should pursue this.  you are really really good at it."

and that was it.

the photo manager at walmart lit a spark in me to walk forward.  correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't think you need to know a thing about photography to be a manager in a photo department!  it didn't matter to me…she believed in  me ( i don't know her from adam!), and i jumped forward.

i contacted clarion university asking if i could sign up for photography courses.  

they were in the process of dissolving their photography program (that had been of course, all film related) and were now switching their courses to digital and mixing that with the technology of it as well.  i didn't want that…i wanted the foundation of photography.  i was directed to the man who had taught the film courses, and he agreed to teach me one on one.  and he did.  he gave me books, he taught me composition and gave me his film camera to use.  he even taught me to process and develop in the darkroom.  


ok…this is where it gets weird.

i have no idea who took these photos of me shooting my sisters, and it's crazy that where i am shooting them -this is directly across the street from my studio.  also weird…my haircut that makes me look wayyyy older than i need to, and yes, the mom jeans that i wore when i was not even a mom yet.  eeeesh!

and the story just goes on from there.

charlie and i were married, and immediately started a family. 

i continued shooting everything i could, and signed up for courses at the new york institute of photography.  i read books, i studied online, i reached out to other photographers for advice and direction, and my learning continues to this very day.  there is not one day that i do not grow and learn in the craft that i love.  

and speaking of love…and growing, these special girls turn 29 tomorrow.  

my sisters, my friends...

we sure have come along way together, haven't we? :)



"we lose ourselves in the things we love.  we find ourselves there too." -anonymous