As I start this journey into professional photography I want to publicly thank two people who have inspired me more than all the "celebrity photographers" on the internet.
First to Levi Sim. In 2012, Levi was in New Orleans with his family for a cruise. He reached out to me, looking for someone to show him around town and go on an impromptu photowalk. We ended up spending several hours walking around the French Quarter discussing everything from photography to his time as a missionary in Asia. It was an enlightening afternoon.
Later, I watched as he became a regular contributor on Photofocus and it seems everytime I turn around he is showing up on yet another site as a featured expert on photography. I consider myself lucky to call him a friend.
Next is Karen Lodato. Karen is a local photographer and supermom to 5 kids in Mandeville, La. I've been "online" friends with Karen since she had a different last name and 3 less kids. In that time I've seen her photography skills grow and along with it her business.
Her images are amazing, but not nearly as amazing as her personal story and what she has had to overcome to get where she is. She is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Karen has inspired me in two very concrete ways.
First, she is a real-life example of how far one can progress in a very short time with a heavy dose of grit and determination. Second, there were people I wanted to photograph, and because I was too afraid to ask, Karen now counts them as clients. I commend her for the courage to do that, and it motivated me to get off my butt, man up, and get to work.
Karen, Thank You for the kick in the pants.