About Me Ra
I didn’t find photography.
Photography found me.
And then it healed me.
I started as a writer.
For 10 years I worked on one book, Beauty Restored: Finding Life and Hope After Date Rape. The heart of this book was to be a message of hope to women and their husbands/boyfriends, parents and friends. I wanted them to know they were not alone in their pain. It is based on my own painful experience of being date raped in college and how I went from living out of my car, checking into a psychiatric ward, and eventually finding hope to rebuild a life worth living.
Almost ten years later, on March 20th, 2001, the first day of spring, I birthed two babies; my beautiful, firstborn, Pascaline and Beauty Restored. When Pascaline was three months old we hit the road and for the next 18 months did over 50 National TV Shows and Radio Interviews. While my little one slept in the backs of churches and colleges, I was up front sharing my story and hoping one woman would feel hope again.
After two amazing years on the road, Brian and I were pregnant with our second. His name was Aidan, our little fire. While in TN for a week long speaking tour I started experiencing abdominal pains and three weeks later our baby Aidan’s heartbeat stopped.
After losing Aidan, I couldn’t speak or write and sought refuge in Brian and Pascaline’s love. During those times of grief, I picked up a camera. Pascaline’s innocence was precious from every view point. I found myself working to capture her story: the times she couldn’t stop giggling, the times she curled into the safety of daddy’s arms, the asleep time, the fussy and frustrated times, the first time she played with a yellow balloon… Friends and family started noticing the photos and asked me to photograph their kids. Soon brides were contacting me for their weddings. I had gone from speaking to 800 women at a conference and sharing my story, to finding healing behind a camera. Life had taken this unexpected turn and now I was given the privilege to artistically capture another woman’s story on her wedding day. Photography had found me.
A new chapter of life unfolded, a chapter of writing other people’s stories through images. Stories of new beginnings, moments of choosing to trust. Every time we shot a wedding I would see these moments; a grandmother reaches to squeeze the bride’s hand, a groom whispers in his bride’s ear, and then her giggle afterwards, a father’s tears while he dances with his daughter. What could be more worthy of capturing than these moments?
Photography is not just an art, trade or skill. It’s a tool of healing for myself and those I have the honor of capturing. When we approach the camera as a healing tool, the world opens it’s heart to us.
Throughout this amazing journey, we had the honor of having our work featured on VH1’s Fabulous Weddings, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Lifetime Television. Grace Ormonde’s premier Wedding Style magazine named us one their Masters of Craft photography teams. For almost five years, Brian and I ran a high-end boutique wedding photography business with associate photographers under us. We were given the great honor of photographing million dollars weddings around the world. This was an incredible chapter in our story, but my heart’s deepest passion was and is to empower women. Thus, Brian and I set out on a new journey by shifting our business–slowly saying goodbye to shooting weddings–as we brought all our focus to building a dream that would empower moms with a camera and ignite their creative spirit.
I am a firm believer in speaking our dreams out loud, bringing them out of the dark. By doing this, they can come out of hiding and take flight. Our dream building began to take flight when SONY asked me to be one of their six sponsored Artisans of Imagery. Our partnership with SONY has been an incredible blessing these last five years, as they stand behind me in reaching moms–empowering them to capture their families. They commissioned our award winning DVD series Refuse to Say Cheese to be reproduced for their instructional DVD “Kids in Focus”–given to customers who buy a SONY DSLR. SONY has also sponsored our SOAR! Scholarship for women the last two years. I can’t say enough about this company.
Alongside our joy for photography, Brian and I rekindled our love for speaking. Together, we travel nationwide, teaching our CONFIDENCE Workshops to women, speaking at photography expos and conferences–with a heart to empower and inspire not only the professional photographer but the parent, enthusiast and scrap booker too. We now mentor our own team of certified CONFIDENCE teachers who carry our workshops to cities nationwide.
After two years of pitching the producers at the Oprah Winfrey Show, I received a call one summer afternoon with an invitation to be the photo expert for the Nate Berkus Show on NBC. Those two years with Nate’s show, teaching photo tips to an audience of millions, was an invaluable learning experience and preparation for my own show. In November 2012, my own show will begin airing on the Disney Junior channel, and yes, we are going to moms and teaching them how to capture their kids!!! I’m so excited for you to follow along with the show!
I also invite you to check out my book Your Baby in Pictures. This book has forty “photo recipes” to capturing the first year of your baby’s life. It has been become a National Bestseller and has been featured in The New York Times.
You can find our photography published in Parenting, American Baby, American Photo, Popular Photography, Inside Edge magazine and more. Our work has been on exhibit from San Francisco to New York.
I want to pinch myself, jump up and down, cry and just laugh with all the crazy goodness that has come with every wild dream Brian and I have dared to speak out loud. And yet, I have a feeling that the journey has just begun. But the most wonderful gift of all…the gift that anchors me every day…our beautiful children: Pascaline and Blaze. Capturing their lives is the greatest honor of all.
How does a woman start at such a place of deep pain and find herself standing in front of wide, open skies…I’m speechless. If I can do this, I know with full confidence you can reach your impossible dreams too. Each day I find that my pain is still with me over my losses, but the joy is just as deep if not deeper.
Thank you for joining this beautiful community of women.
May we all take flight together!
*For details on our DVDs and upcoming photography workshops, visit our Store!