Photographer/OWNER OF Jasper & Fern
I didn't originally want to be a portrait photographer. (That's exactly what you expect to hear out of the mouth of someone who makes their living photographing people, right?) Truth be told, I was averse to the idea of photographing people. I didn't dislike people; I was just not very social growing up - your typical wall-flower quiet type. People and large crowds made me uncomfortable and I felt extremely out of place. So, instead of being a social adolescent, I spend hours crawling around on the ground photographing bugs, plants and finding unexpected beauty in places people normally wouldn't notice. I knew I wanted to be a photographer for the rest of my life and my ideal job was going on documentary excursions to photograph indigenous tribes or hanging out in a tree for months photographing monkeys.
Growing up, most of my friends weren't your typical "popular" kids. They were all wonderful people but, most of us had baggage or were bullied. On too many occasions, my female friends would be upset by someone telling them they were ugly, "different," or worthless - and they were believing these lies. Bullying has always been illogical to me so these accusations and categorizations didn't make sense. None of my friends were worthless. None of them were ugly. Different isn't bad. No one deserves to feel worthless and be put down.
I started offering to photograph my friends in hopes that I could show them the beauty they they couldn't see in themselves and that no bully was going to point out. They always made me feel special when I photographed them and it was enjoyable to turn around and make them feel special when they saw their portraits. There are memories seared into my brain, watching the reactions of my friends as they saw something in themselves. Those images are still some of my favorites because each of my friends are dear to me. I'll still occasionally bring out their portraits and appreciate what they've brought to my life.
Through my friends and my own healing in this process, I realized that I could make an impact, that I could help instigate and encourage self-love and self-acceptance. That's where my focus changed. I went to college to learn how to run my own studio and, after graduating in 2011 and testing out several ventures until I figured out what I needed and where I fit, I've found myself here at Jasper & Fern with every ounce of my being fulfilled and continually growing.
Every time I am able to give someone something special, whether it be a beautiful portrait of themselves, an intimate blink of their relationships, a portrait to hold of their furry family member, a warrior portrait or a celebration of their success, I am fulfilled with them. I am thankful for each day and each person I interact with. God has blessed me with a unique opportunity to love and make an impact and I am aware of His hand in my life on a daily basis. I am thankful and respectful of the journey that brought me here.