When I was finishing my BFA at Arizona State University in photography I rapidly started booking any shoots I could get. It was great experience but I was selling myself short and attracting clientele that were more interested in a good deal than receiving meaningful art from me. I got burnt out very quickly and thought that because I wasn’t creating images and visual stories that were a reflection of me as an artist that maybe the path I was on wasn’t right for me. I tucked photography away for several years in search of whatever else might be right for me. I experimented with several different career paths but mostly worked in the service industry in order to pay the bills. I even started performing as an aerialist for a short time!
I’ve been trying to leave the service industry for several years now but just haven’t had the courage to commit to leaving it behind. It’s an incredibly flexible and potentially lucrative industry to be in making it all the more difficult to leave. Two summers ago I took a risk and left my NE job as a bartender and server to explore the gardening world. I was given an opportunity by a loved regular to work with her as an estate gardener, I didn’t know exactly what that meant but I figured… Hey! I love my house plants and being outside so, why not?! I knew it was going to be a huge pay cut and would be hard work but I wanted to give it a go. I even thought for a second it was my thing! I worked my butt off that summer and by the end I realized maybe I was just using that opportunity as an excuse to get out of the service scene and avoid what I really wanted which was to photograph people for a living. I didn’t think I was good enough and wanted out of the service industry so badly so I thought maybe that gardening was it for me. I finished the summer with new freckles, funky tan lines and a new perspective into my future but ended up back in the industry pretty quickly and on a mission.
When Andy and I moved to Portland in 2015, we met Pete and Amanda through work and became good friends with them right away. I worked with Amanda at a bar in NE for a few years and grew to love her quirky and sweet self quickly. She has since been very supportive and welcoming and I’m so happy to call her my friend! The two together now run their own family company selling CBD infused olive oil imported from Spain called House of Spain! Their oil has gotten a lot of attention in the past year or so and can be found in a lot of cocktails in Portland, OR. When I found out they were pregnant I couldn’t get over how excited I was for them! They are such kind and beautiful people and I knew right away that I wanted to photograph their maternity photos.
Photographing Pete and Amanda’s winter Columbia River Gorge Maternity photos reignited my passion and hope for the photography world. I took these photos right before I got hired as a gardener and carried that feel good high from it with me throughout the summer. It was such a magical photo session! We didn’t have a specific location in mind but they knew they wanted their maternity photos to be natural and somewhere special to them so, together we drove to the Gorge and pulled over near a tunnel that was surrounded by snow and trees. After some time there Peter began to grow really excited about how the photos were turning out. He wanted to find another spot so we drove for a bit until he pull over by the water. It was absolutely perfect! The sun had almost set and the lighting was moody and soft. The landscape looked like a pastel painting it was so beautiful! As I was taking portraits of just Amanda Pete could not stop saying how gorgeous she looked. It was so sweet! He was so hyped and having so much fun! If we had more light my session with them would have lasted for hours! I loved it!
The energy from this photo session really brought me so much joy. I was so excited and reminded why I do this today. People are amazing and so full of love and I LOVE to capture that in genuine and artfully composed photographs. Intimately photographing like minded people like Pete and Amanda is so special to me. It really is very energizing and beautiful and I needed to be reminded of that. It sparked my passion I thought I had lost and caused me to pursue starting my own business throughout the summer spent in the sunshine getting dirty in the garden.
I can’t help but feel like this session was sort of symbolic to my path back into this amazing career. It was an opportunity for my creative passion to be reborn. I will forever be grateful that they trusted me to take photos of such a special moment in their lives pregnant with their first baby Sophia, who was born only about a week later! I’m so glad we didn’t wait too long! Maternity photos are such a precious memory to have! Thank you so much again for helping Silver Meridian Photography be born. Pete and Amanda, I have so much love in my heart for you and your family and I’m so proud of the accomplishments you’ve made with your new business!