October 8, 2001

More about Kelly....

Who am I??  I apologize in advance if this is not the most grammatically correct essay, however; one minute was almost impossible to describe who I am as a person.  If you choose to click on this link to read a little more, I can not thank you enough.  I am an opinionated person who recently found her voice, an organizer, a problem solver, a fighter, a hard worker, nosy, unbelievably loyal, a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.  I was a single mother at 16 who had to work countless jobs just to make sure my older son had a place to sleep, food to eat and a good education.  Even if that meant sleeping on the floor, working 3 jobs and barely sleeping.  Needed less to say, I had to put myself on hold for a good portion of my life.  I would not change this for the world.  Although I may not have realized it until I was older, what I was able to accomplish in my teens showed me the strength that I have with n myself.  As my children grew I encountered many obstacles that taught me such valuable life lessons.  Obstacles such as helping my husband become a step-father, helping my son feel comfortable in his skin as a gay child in a very small town, overcoming my younger son's anxieties, dealing with family addiction, death and the overall struggle to run and own two companies.

My husband has had a successful construction company since we were teenagers in which I have worked at for many years.  He also picked up a camera as a hobby first.  He had the idea to create a photography company & started it.  I supported him with his new venture and even went to assist him on one of his first weddings.  I quickly learned I was not a great assistant to my husband.  Being bored at the second wedding I attended with him, I picked up his back up camera and that was it, I was hooked.  With out any hesitation, I started to learn, shoot, assist & eventually take the reins on the photography business.

Here is where my guilt as a women came in and something I still struggle with daily.  I think I am good, I mean really good.  I have always been a nosy person and I realized the camera now gave me an excuse to be nosy with out being intrusive.  I was on cloud nine.  However; who am I to outshine my husband, who am I to take something he started and really excel at it.  Well, in the past few years I figured out I am a photographer and a strong women and no matter what I choose to do, it is my time and I should not feel guilty about that.  I did however; want something of my own, something that I alone can call mine.  This is where I started to venture into other types of photography and search out for women only groups.  Unlike when I was younger, I now have the choice to work harder and choose what to spend my money on.  Granted it is never a lot of extra money, but that did not matter to me.  This is where my affiliation with Photographers Without Borders came in and why I chose to self-fund a trip to Macedonia.

My trip there was eye-opening.  I was half way across the world and saw teenage girls struggling with the same things I did as I grew up and I knew right then that I wanted to do.  What I could to make this easier on them and fight for all the women in the world who were not in a position to fight for themselves.  Us as humans have more in common then we think, regardless of where we are from.  I want to do this by opening their eyes to the world of photography, while also using my photography to educate others on what is going on across the globe.

I have a long way to go, and the mentorship and money of course would be a dream come true.  I honestly watched about 40 of the entry videos in the past day and I know you have a large pool of talented, amazing women to choose from.  If I am not chosen, I can only hope that this program continues for years to come.

If you did get this far to read a little more about me, I thank you again for your time.