Getting to Know Your Photographer Series: Your Family's Photos are Art. Wolcott, NY Photographer
Updated: Mar 28, 2022
WHAT COMES FIRST THE CHICKEN OR THE...
First off let me just say that it took me longer in life to figure out what I loved. I always knew I wanted to work with people and I have always been on the creative side of life. I love singing, dabbled a little in guitar and piano, crafts of all sorts and art as a whole has always inspired me. What changed me was a class I took, black and white film, and an old camera.
It all started with an EGG ironically and ended with me and a direction where to go in life.
That was my most foundational class where I learned about light and it was just the beginning. We went from eggs to buildings and textures to eventually a self-portrait. This is where my passion grew and I learned much of my foundations. From there I would take many classes on photoshop, digital photography, newborn photography, senior photography, posing, lighting, digital manipulations, and family photography. I don't plan ever to stop taking classes and I learn new aspects of photography every day.
So after I graduated in 2010 I have been doing photography part-time and plan on going full time this year in 2020.
EVERY PERSON HAS A STORY AND ARE AMAZING
One of my favorite things about life is people. I have met so many people with so many stories. I love getting to know my clients and bring an element of personality and stories to their photos. I want the experience to be one that you leave me and you know me and I know you. Life is about caring and loving others. This is what I hope to convey about you and your family.
I don't have the time to tell you my whole life story but I can tell you a couple of moments where I have been affected the most. Two mission trips, one to Sao Paulo, Brazil and one to Jacmel, Haiti. I was 16 when I went to Sao Paulo, Brazil. My first trip overseas and my first trip with a camera. I laughed and played soccer with kids in a very poor area where some even lived at dumps just to bring home food to their families. Where they may have not had much but they really didn't need it. I remember sitting in the van at the dump, smelling the rotting trash and watching tons of flies on the outside of the window. I was watching children search for anything that might help them and their families, and I couldn't even get out of the van. I just sat there and cried and realized how even though I grew up relatively poor, in comparison my family had mountains of food, plenty of clean clothing, a shelter, and love and I didn't need as much as I thought I once did. This is where I first truly realized people are what matter the most. The kids are what touched me the most. Those kids loved soccer, they hugged us, wanted to hang out with us. The people there wanted to give us their very best, especially if you went to their house.
In the first picture below I am the fourth from the left with my group. The second picture is the group of kids that we helped build a cement pad for them to play on for their school. The third photo is one of the kids at the school who would hang out with us all the time. The fourth photo is the photo from us sitting in the van before getting out at the dump. Then the fifth photo is the people searching through the trash at the dump. Finally, the last photo is the houses that people live in.
The other place that I went to with my husband, Joseph, was with Restore Haiti, in 2014. We went to help build a house for a family, meet the community and also put on a fun VBS for the kids. Restore Haiti explains on their website that it helps bring, "nutritious food, clean water, access to basic medical care, and education assistance to communities in Haiti". Consequently, on this trip, we decided to sponsor one girl and have been every year since 2014 because we agree and believe so strongly about helping the children here.
We got to meet our sponsor, Loica. We got to sit down for about an hour and ask her questions about herself. It is not every day you get to actually meet the person you spend money to help every month and it becomes much more than just a nice thing you do but you get to see the person you help contribute to making a difference in this life. You can't put a dollar amount on that in the long run. It is something that will last longer than my lifetime.
We had so much fun and I felt loved on by everyone there. When you make a difference in other people's lives it is amazing and there no other feeling like it in the world. I know, with my first trip, I went expecting to be a blessing to them and wouldn't understand until after, that they were more of a blessing to me than I ever was to them.
THE EGG, THE TRIPS, AND MY FOCUS
So why has this made me a better photographer and why has it shaped me to be the person I am? No matter who you are you have sadness, joy, struggles and the greatest loves in your life and I want to know about it, capture it and make it so you will always remember it. I want to know you. Everyone, no matter who you are, rich or poor, loveable or hurting, full of joy or tired new mama, you have a story. Let me help you see the art in that part of your journey.
Thanks for reading,
Shanon Tessier Photography