why I am a photographer …. my story

I was recently asked some direct questions about why I am a photographer and what I like to shoot and what makes me different from other photographers.   Sarah Rhoads makes you think.

 Which brings me right back to my kids.  Before the kids came along, I always joked that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body.  I studied and loved Economics and Accounting at UC Berkeley undergrad.  I went to Stanford Law School and got my JD. I loved Math.  I like a straight answer.  I don’t think I took one art class in all of college.  

The only inkling I had of seeing things differently was that I was always on the outside, a little different.. I always took the unconventional route.  For example, I didn’t go to high school.  I don’t care if my t-shirt is inside out.  I am an introvert and always do things on my own.  If there’s a harder way to do things, Ill choose it.

And then I had kids.  First one, then two, then three.. and then I took a photography class.  Mainly just to do something else.  Besides work and mom stuff.  And to capture the kids as they grew.  And once I started taking the photos, I couldn’t stop.  I found I could capture what I saw as the truth of my kids.  Of the life I live with them. Of their imperfections and their perfections.  Not a smiley cheesy Sears photo, but the real thing.  The essence of them.  And then there were four kids.

And I could tell a story. A story of our lives.  Friends started asking if I could take their kids photos.  Or their Christmas Card photos.  And it grew.  And then my sister in law asked if I would do her wedding.  At first I said no.  But she talked me into it and I loved it.  The same thing.  Telling the story. Capturing the essence of their love.  

Then more weddings, more kids, families, businesses, school yearbook.  I found I loved shooting anything if I could do it in my style.  I look for what I love in the people I shoot.   And I love learning.  Photography is constant learning.  Learning the techniques of course, but learning about yourself. Its an inward journey as well as an outward.

I constantly take classes and workshops.  Always trying new things and hoping to improve.  And the result is that everyday feels like Christmas to me.  Not even any sort of exaggeration.  Ive got film to shoot, or film to pick up, or scans to look at, a class to teach, or a client to meet with.  I love all of it. 

And through it all, my kids are growing.  My baby, Noa,  is now 2 and when he sees a camera in my hand, he stands against the nearest wall and poses.  Nalu, who is now 14, can shoot with my contax at f/2.0 and pretty much nail it.  Hannah and Noe, the girls, absolutely understand they can get ice cream if they cooperate.  Its a way of life in our house.

So thats why and what.  How am I different from other photographers?  We are all different.  I don’t do anything but try to be me and try to show the truth of what I see in others.  As art.  As a portrait.  The essence of what is there.  My photos are not timid.  But they are fun and TRUE.


great post wendy! thanks for sharing–i can relate :)

thanks alisa… im going to have to get together with you next time im on oahu.

Beautiful Wendy. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us :)

i found your blog through sarah rhoads' post about you. you are beautiful and i love your images. they are honest and real and you're right, they are not timid. good luck with everything!

Right on!

Thank you everyone. xoxo

loving your post and your true words.
makes me smile and gives me inspiration to work harder and learn even more about photography.
viele gruesse, kristina