A Long & Winding Road
I am going to be candid today. This isn’t something that comes easily to me, and only recently have I realized how much my shyness can and has hampered my dreams. Now that I recognize that, I am going to put up a good fight, so here I am.
I am Sarah, and I am a photographer.
I have loved photography ever since I was very young and watched adults with their fancy film cameras – loading 35mm film, getting frustrated when they accidentally exposed the film, and running out of film in the midst of a family event.
I took a summer enrichment course in middle school where I learned a little bit about single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, and we got to develop our own photos. Holy moly. I was in heaven. As someone who has no great drawing or musical ability (I canNOT carry a tune!), I had finally found my artistic creative outlet.
Going on to high school, I worked on the school newspaper staff as a photographer. I LOVED completing assignments. I would stay late after school and work in the darkroom. I did this so frequently that the journalism teacher eventually let me stay after she was done for the day as long as I made sure the door was locked when I left. (I think that story means I was in high school “back in the day,” because I’m not sure that amount of free reign would fly these days.) In any case, I am so glad I had that opportunity.
My sister got married while I was in high school, and her photographer was so kind to me. When I was a few years older, this photographer hired me to be her shooting assistant at weddings. I was hooked.
I went on to the University of Texas at Austin where I studied journalism with a concentration in photojournalism. I loved my intro course, but Photography I…yikes. I had a adjunct professor who thought she was the bees knees and all of her students were just terrible. I was too sensitive. I took it all too personally. I would leave class crying more often than not. Many of my classmates felt the same as I did. None of us were encouraged. I did not take another photography course at the university.
After graduation, I was able to work closely with two prominent photographers and assist on photo shoots as well as act as the primary person for completing all of their post-processing (read: color correcting, image adjusting, Photoshop guru) and album designs. I opened my own photography company on the side and ran that well in my spare time.
A couple years later, I got married and moved to Germany with my husband while he was on active duty in the Army (stationed in Heidelberg). We had a fantastic four years there, but I did not have the opportunity to continue my business while we were on foreign soil.
Once his service was up, we moved from Germany to Austin, Texas, with our then 6-week-old in tow. I started up my photography business again, and things were going well. Unfortunately, with my husband in school full time and a baby to support, I needed a steady and secure income, so I began to job search.
I wound up working for the same company that employed me while we lived in Germany. It was incredibly nice to have a reliable source of income again, but the office life – 40 hours/week in a cubicle under fluorescent lights – is not what I wanted for my career.
A few years passed, my husband finished his degree and landed a fantastic job, which provided the opportunity for me to consider a career change. So, with a lot of help and encouragement from my husband and oldest child (we now have two kiddos!), I embarked on the journey to transition back to full time photographer.
Right now, I am somewhere in the middle, and it is crazy keeping up with my family and both of my jobs, but I am so excited to be on my way to achieving my dream, which has been on the horizon far too long. I won’t let this opportunity pass me by.
If you made it this far, thank you. I hope this has given you some insight into who I am and why I have chosen to pursue photography. In the days and weeks to come, look for posts on my photography style and influences.