My first memory of photography was when I was eight years old and went to DisneyWorld with my family. I had a new camera and documented every aspect of our trip, making my family pose with our fingers pointed towards whatever attraction we were standing near.
I was given a Polaroid camera as a present, and I began documenting with both color film and Polaroid photography. I set up photoshoots: I moved all the furniture away from a white wall in my room, set up lamps for lighting, and posed my 3 year old brother in various outfits. I was experimenting and exploring.
I went on to study photography more seriously in college, falling in love with black and white photography in the darkroom. I have always loved nature: an amazing tree or the sound of the wind can stop me in my tracks. I found a deeper connection to nature through my photography, and the ability to show it as it appears through my mind’s eye. I remember walking around “seeing the world in black and white” even when I didn’t have my camera in hand.
Getting More Serious
My studies continued in my twenties at the New England School of Photography in Boston, where I took night classes while I worked a day job in finance. I continued pursuing primarily black and white photography, studying Ansel Adam’s Zone System theory of making the perfect negative. I also studied the art of night photography, working primarily in medium and large format film. I refined my darkroom printing techniques and exhibited my work in juried shows, garnering an Honorable Mention from the Black and White Magazine photo contest.
I began working as an event photographer for a local Boston magazine. For several years, I captured hundreds of events in the Boston social scene for magazines and marketing agencies, from fashion shows to charity galas, bartender competitions to restaurant openings. Out of necessity, I transitioned to working in digital and color photography.
I moved to San Francisco and launched a career in family photography while also working as a commercial photographer for various businesses.
Yoga and Photography – The Union
At the same time I was pursuing my photography career in Boston, I was also traveling to Costa Rica to study yoga and work as a surfing and yoga photographer. While the two careers may seem very different at first glance, I found that so much of photography IS yoga. A pursuit of the moment, a connection, a slowing down and noticing.
The word yoga means union. And in yogic philosophy, there are 5 layers of the self, layers of awareness, called koshas.
These layers are:
- Physical – your eyes
- Energetic – breath, energy
- Mental – analytical, reactive, mental chatter
- Intellect – stories, how you related to things and also how you can pull back and witness
- Bliss Body – pure joy, attunement and opening of the heart
So our koshas start with our physical selves and work inwards towards the core or true nature of our being.
With photography, one can have a journey through the koshas. You start by seeing a subject or a photo with your physical eyes. It passes through all the layers, does your breath change, are you analyzing it, can you relate to it…eventually moving inwards to that place of heart connection and attunement.
And with our hearts and eyes more open and connected, we can experience that deeper union within ourselves and with the world.
As a yogi and photographer, I continue to practice dropping into the moment again and again…in search of that union.