About me, the portrait photographer
I have for most of my life, been a Jill of all trades. I went to acting school to become a dropout. I travelled and learned a language. I sold stuffed koalas in a theme park and ended up in tourism which took me to sales and marketing in the hotel industry. That lead to 5 years based in the United Kingdom where work took me everywhere from the Caribbean to Russia to New York City. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centres made me miss home more than I could ever have imagined, and I returned home to Australia for a little bit of foodie work, a bit of treading the boards, and more marketing work.
It was on stage I met my husband and our whirlwind and heady romance ended up in marriage and pregnancy. When I gave birth to my twins Archie and Rissie my world changed forever and for their arrival, I will be eternally grateful. But first cancer, post-natal depression, divorce, and single momma’s surprise move to a country town with her little ones.
If someone had told me one day that I would end up behind the lens I would have told them they were bonkers. I was a writer, an actor, a dreamer, a marketing guru, but a photographer? No!
I had a little neon green point-and-shoot camera that I had when the kids were born, and I took endless photos of them. At some stage, the green was replaced with pink. I got sick in 2013 when I was diagnosed with MS and started taking morning photos to keep myself sane. I told myself if I could start the day with something beautiful, then I would get through that day. I started taking photos for social media when I was working at the local Visitor’s Centre and then small-town politics lead me to quit my job, become freelance, and start a foodie blog. I kept on taking photos. For Christmas 2015 my sister Tiney brought me my first DSLR and told me that my future was in that camera.
She was my person and got me more than I got myself. In 2016 the kids and I donned backpacks, and we went on a worldwide adventure. That was my way of celebrating that I was mobile, healthy, and beating the diagnosis that 5 neurologists had told me was my future. 9 months into our adventure, when I was the happiest I have ever been, Tiney took her leave of this world and my life once again changed more than I could ever have imagined.
I would not wish that time on anyone, not even my worst enemy, but I survived. I survived by taking photos, looking for and finding beauty. I kept working, travelling, and taking photos. I found solace in my photos and the world I saw with my lens. The thought of taking photos of people scared the hell out of me, my happy place was alone at sunrise on a dirt road. I started selling my images at the markets and in 2021, the 2nd year of the pandemic, I opened a little shop. I only signed a short lease to work out if I was on the right track. Turns out I was, even after multiple lockdowns and border closures, but in the wrong position. I opened new premises on the main street in 2022.
Halfway through that year, I promised myself a year of education and I think I studied on every platform with every amazing and sometimes terribly average teacher I could find. Then something strange started to happen throughout that year, in that I started to feel the pull of people. I also started a personal project just over three years long to celebrate the final years of my children’s childhood. That project is called 1157 days, one day, one moment.
It is my salute to these incredible creatures that I made from scratch. It was also my way of shooting daily, shooting through the drudgery, and looking for beauty in the mundane. I learned about light, colour, composition, and storytelling.
Jump forward another year and I decided that my future lies in portrait photography. That was where my heart lay. Once again, I could never have predicted it.
We live in a super-fast world where people are being taught to have a limited attention span. Swipe right, swipe left, and forget about listening because we all have too much to say. I believe that every single person has an incredible story to tell and that every face is different.
Every single person has a story to tell, and I want to tell those stories.
That is me in a nutshell. A Jill of all trades, who found her way behind the lens and is increasingly addicted to telling people’s stories. It is funny to me that I am in my early 50s and finally realising what I want to do when I grow up.
I am so very lucky and forever grateful to be on this journey.
I am currently working on my studio which will be attached to my little shop and hoping to have this up and running in September of this year so stay tuned!!!
xxxLara, the portrait photographer
Beauty, hope, joy, & inspiration