It was hard to initially think of myself as an artist. I grew up immersing myself in so many different sports and dedicating over 10 years to becoming a teacher and qualified coach - taking 10+ different National Governing body qualifications, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Sport continues to govern so much of my life and where I find true happiness.
I considered both my siblings, Mother, cousins, Aunties and Grandparents all to be artists in their professions and/or hobbies. I didn’t think I had inherited the creative gene and was happy to make sport a career path. My mother, despite her eyesight was able to capture so many wonderful family photos and this inspired me immensely. I recently learned of her same interest in people’s faces from her portrait paintings in The National Children’s art gallery in London when she was 14.
Fast forward to life in Fernie surrounded by so much beauty in our landscape and community members, I was looking for an outlet in the evenings for my new role as a mother. Creating images after having two children contributed to my health. It allowed me to connect with myself again and with the world. My partner Mark was working and when social isolation in the evenings was already a thing for mothers, I enjoyed learning about how to take better photos and how to edit them. Being a visual learner, YouTube videos about photoshop, lighting etc...became my Netflix.
I am drawn to portrait photography over landscapes and product. I most enjoy working with children and their families. So for me, it’s all about having a human in the image (pet’s welcome, too!). Initially it was so nerve wracking putting myself and my photos ‘out there,’ but I am so glad I took those first steps as I have had no regrets. I am also really grateful to the families who I referred to as my guinea pigs for practice, as it has taken many years to be able to develop a consistent product and style for families to invest in. I think that’s the biggest motivator in this medium, there is always learning and improving to do. The journey for self-improvement and professionalism is an endless path and it’s up to me how far I can take myself on it.
Portrait photography for me is about capturing natural expressions. Creating a natural moment of laughter that makes a face light up. First learning and then tweaking settings to get sharp eyes in focus is what I strive for and when working with children you literally have a split second to make that happen! The ‘cheese’ smiles for under five seconds don’t always give the most natural of expressions. I love the challenge of working with children to try and create joy in their eyes.
The Elk Valley has so many talented photographers residing and working here! Their work is so inspiring and it feels like community over competition. Especially Randi, with Red Flannel Photography. Special shout out to her for referring clients when she has been booked up with her own photography.
For the future, participating in in-person workshops, studio space, investing in 70-200 lens and/or full frame camera body are all things I daydream about. Ultimately though, keeping professional family photography affordable whilst being profitable is my mission. I don’t think it should be just a luxury item that happens once every three years. Kids change and grow up too quickly.
Print your photos this Holiday Season, make albums, make photo presents and tree decorations, hang photos of your family and friends on your walls - print as many and as big as your budget will allow!
My social media business accounts are like my portfolio of work if you want to check them out, Instagram and Facebook emilyparkphotographyfernie.