LAUREN, associate photographer

I am often asked why I chose photography, but the truth is, I don’t ever remember it being a choice. It began with my father and his bulky film camera, him steadying my hands, too small to support its weight. It became an obsession in the ninth grade. Developing and printing in the darkroom, skipping lunch and staying well past school hours. The smell of darkroom chemicals embedded in my clothing. And it followed me to college. Photography and photojournalism courses only seemed logical. An introduction to Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith and Annie Leibovitz, whose evident passion and unparalleled talent continue to shape me today. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson is well-known for his idea of the “decisive moment.” He says, "We have to be alert and know when to pick the moment which is significant. Then, it’s just intuition. It’s instinct.” Having the patience to wait for that moment is the difference between an average photographer and one who captures astounding images. When I hold a camera, I begin to see the world differently. I no longer see through ordinary eyes but rather in light, lines and movement. My eye is drawn to moments that I would otherwise completely miss. 

It’s been more than 15 years since I received my first camera as a gift from my parents. A lot has changed since then — in my life and in the world around me. I’ve graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in photojournalism, traveled across the United States and abroad and moved from Florida to Tennessee. The world has transitioned from a time when photography was a niche interest to an age in which cameras are in the hands, purses and back pockets of the vast majority of people around us. While having a camera integrated into our phones makes it easy to snap a shot here or there, still nothing compares to high-quality photography from someone with a trained eye. The significance of investing in professional photography has not changed, nor has my desire to wait for those fleeting moments that make life more than worth remembering.

Rachel introduced herself to me in a yoga class soon after I moved to Nashville in 2013. It’s crazy to think that connecting over something as small as our exercise routine could lead to the friendship and professional relationship we have today. I had been a wedding photographer for years in Florida, and once Rachel made that connection, she asked me to shoot a wedding with her. We were both amazed at how well we worked together, and since our approach to photography was so similar, our images paired perfectly. I now shoot nearly every wedding with Rachel as the assistant photographer, and I’m also available to book for family shoots, portrait sessions and more. To be entrusted to capture life for others is an honor I’m continually inspired by and grateful for.