I like to tell people that photography found me.
When I graduated high school, I moved to Cleveland, TN on a music scholarship to attend Lee University. There, I studied Public Relations while touring with an acapella vocal ensemble. I always felt a pull towards the creative; music, painting, art and the likes, but never imagined a career would be possible for me. So the safe path I chose.
Upon graduating, I landed a corner office working for a large, multi-million dollar company in their Public Relations department. Perfect, right? Far from it. Saying goodbye to all my creative outlets and entering into a 9-5, I found myself incredibly claustrophobic, caged-in and unsatisfied. After two years of showing up, I decided it was time for adventure.
I made a quick decision to teach English in Seoul, South Korea, and away I went. Not knowing a lick of the language, but seeking “more”. Though aspects of living in a foreign country were certainly exciting, I realized quickly that the normalcy I was running from at home, simply moved with me overseas. I was again working not out of passion, but mere responsibility. Caged.
Upon moving back to the states, I got engaged to my college sweetheart, and we soon got married. I vacillated between a few different jobs, deeply frustrated at my own lack of commitment. I had never quit a thing in my life, but adulthood and the workforce met me with one ill-fit after another. I couldn’t settle into any career, and felt a deep drive that there was more. More. More.
By the grace of God, I was connected with a family that needed some out-of-the-box help. A little work at their business, a little work at the home. Picking up kiddos and heating up supper. In a season where I felt I was floundering, it was respite for my soul.
Soon after, my husband and I found out we were expecting. We were elated. Sadly, just nine weeks into my pregnancy we lost the baby. Work had to go on hold. Everything had to go on hold.
Coming back to work was difficult, but much needed. When I walked in the first day, there was a giant box wrapped up on their kitchen table with my name on it. When I approached it, I saw a small tag that said simply, “Laura, for all the children you will raise…”
I opened it to find a DSLR camera. My first DSLR camera. The camera that changed the entire trajectory of my life. Two months later, we found out we were expecting again, and this time our dreams came true. We had our son, Tristan, six years ago.
I became obsessed. With my son. With my camera. I immersed myself into education and daily practiced. A friend took notice and asked if I wouldn’t mind shooting her Christmas photos. That one shoot led to 28 shoots that December alone! 28! That April I booked my first wedding, and then my second, and by the next calendar year I had logged 30.
That was five years ago now, and I can say that my love hasn’t wained. We have added another little one, Gabrielle to the mix, and yes - my camera is still out on the table fulfilling its duty to capture my children.
I didn’t know doing what I do now was even an option for me, but here I am. They say when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Well, don’t get me wrong, being a wedding photographer is hard work ya’ll. But it is fulfilling work. Deeply fulfilling. Work that allows me to be an artist, all while being deeply connected to other souls on some of the most important days of their journeys. Journey’s just as sacred as my own.
I like to think, were not for all of the “missteps,” I wouldn’t be exactly where I am today. So maybe they’re weren’t missteps after all. Maybe photography really did find me. I’m sure glad it did.