I would come home from school in 7th and 8th grade, take a bunch of selfies on my tiny, handheld digital camera, and shamelessly edit them on those built-in Microsoft applications until it was time for dinner. I should point out that these photos were not my best work (I now avoid selfies at all costs), and my edits boiled down to sliding each contrast, saturation, and brightness adjustment bar to 100%. But during those early days, I learned that I loved polishing and perfecting photos to display the most magnificent version of what they were - which was raw, laughing, sometimes blurry, beautiful life.

I went on to study Organizational Communications and Film and Media at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, all while slowly experimenting with DSLR cameras, editing software, and creative styling on the side. I hunkered down and continued my work towards a degree, fully believing that whatever it was that I was “supposed” to be doing with my life would somehow reveal itself to me at the end of four years of schooling.

And guess what? It didn’t. I worked in the “real world” for a year and a half, all while continuing to shoot an engagement here, or a model there, just to build a social media portfolio. And then, finally, one day in May of 2018 while driving home from a weekend in Northern Michigan, I had my epiphany.

I realized that all this time, I had treated photography as just a hobby. But I loved it. I got so excited each time I got to sit down and edit for a few hours on a weekend. A WEEKEND! I would sit on Pinterest during my lunch breaks, gathering inspiration photos and new-shoot ideas. For the first time, I recognized that though I’d spent the majority of my adult life searching for my “passion,” it had been right in front of me all along.

I’d put photography off for fear of the unknown or the unstable, but through the unpredictability of people and places and life itself, I’ve realized that the unexpected is often what makes our lives more rich and our photos more authentic. Posed can be beautiful. Rigid can be fashion. Laughter can be wild. Messy hair can be relatable. A kiss can bring forth a tear.

It’s all real. It’s all life. What I’ve set out to capture is that every moment - the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, or somewhere in the middle - are moments to cherish. They make us, well, us. The human life is a constant learning experience, a never-ending cycle of ups and downs, of laughter, of tears, of heartbreak, of happiness, and everything in-between. And as a photographer, I want to capture it in the most honorable and beautiful way that I know how - as you felt it. I want to give you a little something to hold onto when you want to remember.

So - black, white, brown, gay, straight, happy, sad, male, female, or some combination of all - your story is important. Your life is important. Your feelings are important. Let’s remember them together.

P.S. - A few more things, just in case you were wondering - that’s me in the gallery below. I love Michael Bublé, jars of tiny pickles, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I’m an Enneagram 6 and have recently been trying out a center part (still not sure how I feel about it). The mountains are my daydream, but the Great Lakes are my home. And I can’t wait to get to know you.



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