This is Me
Whenever I bump into someone I haven't seen for a while, I am typically asked "are you still doing photography?" I never quite know how to answer that. Because of course I will, but I'm also not pursuing it 100%. Let's go to the very beginning, so that we all end up on the same page.
LAF Lines Photography was born in 2008 when a few really encouraging people suggested I ought to do "something" with my photography. I was going to wait until my youngest was in kindergarten, but there was enough interest to start a couple of years sooner.
My first challenge was coming up with the name for my business. I didn't want to use my name, because that didn't mean anything. I'm not Ansel Adams or Annie Leibowitz. Luckily, my initials are L.A.F. and laughing happens to be my favorite thing to do. I'm super into life, and living it boldly and proudly. Laugh lines are not something that need to be removed from one's face, they ought to be celebrated, because it means that you were here. So LAF Lines came to be, the perfect name for my new company.
We had a spare room in the basement of my ranch house that I dedicated as my office. I grew my business cautiously, only taking on the types of jobs that I felt that I could do well. I didn't do weddings for a while. I spent a couple of seasons working as a photographer's assistant while Elizabeth Walker Photography was booming, learning all that I could about how to carry myself, what equipment to use, how to deal with clients, etc.
My business grew each year, thus allowing me to move into a studio space in the Blake Building in downtown Jackson. I kept true to my philosophy of embracing life, capturing people as they are, and offering a professional service with rigid post-production timelines so that my clients knew exactly what to expect from me. I got to travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Traverse City, and Florida, to pursue jobs with clients who really believed in me. Besides the standard at-home uses, my images have been on the backs of books, used for obituaries, featured in a poetry book, used in brochures, on websites, on billboards, on business cards, on countless holiday and graduation cards, on restaurant walls, shown on TV, and printed in magazines. I even got to photograph the then Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, and separately SLOTUS, Dr. Jill Biden in 2012.
In 2019, after my family had moved to a larger house, I decided to move LAF Lines out of the Blake Building and bring home my equipment since there was ample space. I was pretty sad about the decision, and I remember thinking to myself, "I don't know why this is the right move, but the answer will reveal itself." In March of 2020, and for months after, I was so thankful not to have the expenses associated with my studio space. COVID destroyed a lot of social norms, people, and families. It certainly took the wind out of my sails. I shifted focus to making sure my family was grounded, and then we got our own bad news. Photography took a back burner in my life.
As my youngest has now gone through all the grades, I figured it was time for me to step out for myself. I started a new job in the fall of 2022. I'm a teacher's assistant at the Kit Young Young Adult Program here in Jackson. It is the coolest job with the coolest population. It checks so many boxes and fills my proverbial bucket. I have the traditional school schedule, so my summers will be open to continue photographing. But, as I've not done any marketing for LAF Lines, I also recognize that that might not happen. And I'm entirely at peace.
I know I have a few shoots coming up that are close to home and close to my heart. Over the years, I have had so many people say "I would love to hire you" only to never work with them. And I've wondered if I should have pursued them more? But then I never wanted to be seen as an ever-salesperson who is constantly encouraging people to buy. I figured people could change their minds. Too passive? I'm sorry if you were ever waiting for me to lay on a thick sales job. That was never going to happen.
I have spent too much time in the last 15 years, as I imagine most creatives do, wondering if the phone would ring, wondering if the clients like their images, and wondering if I can recreate the "magic." I am ever grateful to the people who put their trust in me and my art to capture moments of their lives that they will hopefully treasure for a lifetime. I've been lucky to work with incredible partners who have wanted to collaborate with me to create images. What an extraordinary journey this has been. Just a human with a good eye, and enough tenacity to figure out how to do "something" with it. Thank you.
Lidija, You have an amazing talent but this doesn't mean it is all that you are. We all have so many gifts and I am so glad to learn about some of your other talents/gifts. I can't believe how long its been since we sat in my living room taking those first photos of Dom. It won't be long and I will be reaching out for his senior pictures!! I miss seeing you my friend and look forward to running in to you sometime soon!
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