There really aren't words to describe the gratitude I have for my job. When I worked for several years as a Labor & Delivery nurse, I knew that I was able to have a real impact on peoples' lives, and that meant a lot to me. Over the years, though, I began to feel that neither floor nursing nor the midwifery avenue I was pursuing at the time were the right fit for me... but I was afraid: afraid to leave a space where I knew that at the end of my life I could look back and be proud of the impact I'd had. That was what drew me away from my original career path in business into nursing in the first place, after all.
Casting around for (yet) another career option nearly ten years ago - full of self-doubt and frustration - I went out on what felt like an extremely long limb and tried my hand at pursuing photography as a means of income. It was (and continues to be) a huge learning curve full of challenges and the ever-present hustle of an entrepreneur, but it has been rewarding in more ways than I can count. Commercial work for big brands might be a more lucrative photographic pursuit, but those photos are nowhere near as personally valuable, and that's really what keeps me going. I know the art I make for people makes a difference in their lives - in the stories they tell themselves and their families, in the way they remember the most important people and events in their own personal narratives. I know because
I feel that gratitude every single time I get hired, but perhaps never as much as when I get hired again (and again) by a family. I've had the privilege of getting to know Jessica over several years as her family and circumstances have grown and changed, as her heart has suffered and mended and swelled even larger than it already was. Illustrating these various chapters of her story has meant the world to me. Internet, meet the lovely Jess:
Time flies. We hear it said often. We feel its speed, and we attempt to just breathe and slow the years down to seasons, months, days, hours, and minutes. It’s nearly impossible to savor every second, all the blink-of-an-eye moments, and that’s where Annemie comes in. Annemie and her magic. Her magical ability to steal seconds, freeze time, and capture moments that last forever is just one of the reasons why I love her. She’s also a smart, strong, and spectacular woman, so there’s that.
I met Annemie about 6 years ago and immediately gravitated towards her spirit, energy, and warmth. Owning a restaurant and event venue, I would often bump into her at networking events for wedding professionals. After chatting with Annemie and connecting with her, I knew she was the perfect photographer for me and my daughter Ella. At the time, I was starting life over again after a divorce, and Ella was 4 years old, precocious as ever.
We scheduled a fall session, and little did I know how much that afternoon in a field in Carrboro would mean to me and would shift the direction of my life. Annemie captured Ella’s personality perfectly, and she froze time and photographed so many delicious and delightful moments of my 4 year old spirited daughter. The photos from the session told a story, and that story was that I was starting a beautiful new chapter of my life. The chapter that showed that I had the strength to be the best mom I could be to Ella, no matter the circumstances.
So many memories captured from that session are on my walls in my home, a constant loving reminder of that time in our lives when we didn’t know what the future would hold, but we knew we had each other. My favorite photo from the session (that I still have hanging in my kitchen) shows Ella’s awkward, toothy grin with pink gums peeking through everywhere, and her Judy Jetson futuristic red glasses that framed her still baby-face perfectly.
Fast forward through the years (several of those years accepting I’d be an old maid), I met my husband Dan in 2016. My stepdaughter Mia is a year younger than Ella, and as a Father’s Day gift to Dan, I asked Annemie to photograph Mia in her studio. Mia had never experienced a professional photo session before and was nervous going into it. Considering her anxiousness, I took the photo session as an opportunity to bond with Mia and build up her confidence. I took her shopping to pick out a couple outfits to show her personality, curled her hair, and put a little makeup on her to make her sparkle.
Once we arrived to the studio with our border collie Piper along for the fun, Annemie brought Mia out of her shell within seconds, putting her at ease and getting her to put her insecurities aside and just smile. The images are stunning, with Mia’s big heart and soul shining through every frame. But that’s part of Annemie’s magic. She pulls out what’s inside, bringing it into focus for everyone to see and admire. With this brief session, a simple afternoon in the studio, Annemie brought me and Mia closer together, and I’m so thankful for that.
So when considering photographers for our wedding, there weren’t any questions as to who would be the right person. We were overjoyed that Annemie was able to join us down in Saint Simons Island, Georgia this past December for our small wedding of family and close friends. Our wedding day was perfection, and we are so grateful that Annemie was there to capture all of the magic from our perfect day. The preparations leading up to the ceremony, the first look, and our first photos of our blended family were remarkable, showing every tender moment, even ones I’d forgotten we’d had. The photos from our beautiful ceremony, laughter filled reception, and slightly-above-average dancing session showed all of our guests’ spirit and spunk.
The beach photos though... Dan and I cannot express how much we love the photographs that were taken right before sunset on the beach. The beauty of the island, the water and sand, and the incredible Georgia light at dusk set the scene, but what Dan and I love so much about those photographs is how much love, affection, and fun Annemie revealed through her lens. How lucky are we that we get to see all the love in our first moments as a married couple through her eyes!
So while time can fly and zip past, I’m so thankful for Annemie, the magical time-freezing, photographer and friend. I’m excited for all the seconds you’ll steal in the minutes, hours, and days to come. Xoxo.