Visually stimulated camera person who is known for chasing light, color, texture, & form while working at the game of life, under the supervision of our amazing God!
I got my first camera when I was 6. I took my brother Craig( in his underwear & pajama top, mind you! ) and made him sit on the post that sticks out of the back of the mailbox. A week later after sending the FILM off in the mail, I got back an albeit somewhat blurry image that would forever put me on the path of photography. I have always loved how photography immortalizes a piece of time, even if it was your brother in his underwear with a death grip on the mailbox post!
So I went to college in the 90's and 1/2 way through my education (R.I.T.), I had a professor tell me I wasn't going to be a photographer. And like any credulous girl with little self-esteem, I chose to believe him. Afterall, he was a BIG-WHIG photog in NYC with some major commercial campaigns. So I did like most 20 year olds do, I waited tables. I've always enjoyed food and being around people so it was a good match inspite of the occasional person you wanted to dump a plate of food on. Tip the server industry well, please! It's crazy, underappreciated, debacle of juggling work & I still suffer the occasional nightmare that I'm doing it again! You know the one where you are in slow motion, no one else is there working with you, and there are 100 barbarians wanting their food now?!
There was a part of me that wasn't being nurtured & I called it the Creative Monster within. It was grumpy and malnourished. I took a 'job' at a school portrait studio(EHEM!, because I loved photography, duh!) and thought this was a way to get back into it. How stifling & cookie cutter! Although the very cheap company(I once got a 4% raise, which translated to 11 cents!) touted me as a huge success with the highest national sales averages for Senior Close-up portraiture and gave me a plaque (which resides on their walls, still!) the monster was still malnourished.
After the birth of my daughter, I developed my first website(The Art Bouquet) which showcased the monster as a Jill of All Trades. My services ranged from painting, to wall murals, to invitations, to gift baskets, to you guessed it photography! Photography ended up being 95% of what I was doing, so I formally became Swank Photo Studio in 2008.
Since then, SwankPS has had a tremendous amount of growth & I am inherently grateful for every bit of it! There's been a huge learning curve in the business side of things as I had no formal business education. Do you know the average number of hours we spend on one portrait client is 25 hours? And wedding clients, close to 90 hours? After taking an intensive photographic workshop with the PPA I've been given the perspective that if I'm not charging accordingly, I may as well be flipping burgers! Sad to think of myself back in the food industry again. Don't make me do it.
We've been happy to have played a part in immortalizing the lives of an Olympic athlete, Redskin Cheerleaders and their families, an NHL hockey player's family, and many others whom understand the value of what we do for them by preserving their families' legacies, artistically! I sound so fancy and un-burgerlike!
If you view life's lessons as an opportunity for growth & enlightenment, you'll see life as FUN. That's all for now!