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Life and Work with Kerry Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerry Lee.

Kerry, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started studying photography about five years ago. I have always loved creative and artistic outlets like sketching, crafting, sewing and painting, but it wasn’t until I found the photography that I completely and totally fell head over heels for a particular art form. At that time in my life, I was in my twelfth year as a stay-at-home mom to two kids and a wife to a career Marine Corps pilot. Our lives had been filled with many, many moves, loads of deployments and all the typical craziness of a young family, but one that had to move to a new state about every 2-3 years. I was yearning for something constant in my life and photography gave me just that, and then some. I had found photography later in life and at first, my goal was simply just to focus on really learning the technicalities of photography. After a few years of taking endless photos of my own family, I started asking friends if I could have sessions with them and that eventually turned into friends of friends asking me if I would be willing to photograph their families, or their newborns, or their maternity sessions and other important life events. By this point, I had likely taken about nine million images of my own kids so I’m certain they were beyond relieved when I finally started taking images of others besides them. I built my business very slowly and it’s still a part-time gig for me. My goal for 2019 is to continue to grow my business with fun, diverse clients who are open to documenting the emotional connections they have with their loved ones.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh gosh, my road has definitely not always been smooth. Like so many creatives, I think that some of the most common roadblocks to success and progress are often self-inflicted. It’s the dreaded self-doubt that can slow us down the most, it can become our greatest form of resistance. That resistance causes us to ask ourselves questions like am I charging too much for my work, am I not charging enough for my work, does what I create speak to people, am I crazy for even going into business? That’s not to say that all creatives suffer from this self-imposed doubt, but those that don’t even in the tiniest little bit are magical unicorns with the self-confidence of mystical proportions. If we could all be so lucky! My advice to those just starting out would be to seek out community. Particularly, when we are self-employed the “workplace” can be a lonely one when we are the only one in it. Even if you are completely in love with your occupation, it can sometimes be no fun at all to find yourself spending days on end in front of a computer editing, answering emails, working on your website, only to have those long stretches of isolation briefly, and wonderfully, interrupted by fleeting moments with your clients. Those amazing times with clients are what I live for, what I’m most passionate about, and what make the otherwise solitary moments of self-employment so worth it! Seek out others who love what you love, who are passionate about creating the very same things you are passionate about. This community doesn’t have to be 100 people, it can be as simple as just one other like-minded woman who will commiserate with you in the low moments and celebrate with you when you reach those amazing milestones.

Please tell us about Kerry L Photography.
Uh oh, this is the part where I have to hype up my own work. This never ever gets easier. Really what it all comes down to for me is that I love to capture the connection between my subjects. Every session I go into, I want to capture the most genuine, most emotional, most love-filled connection possible. That can be the love between a couple, the emotional anticipation of a mom-to-be or that crazy bliss a family feels when their newborn arrives. For me, connection is about true and authentic emotions, so I stay as far away as possible from stiff awkward posing with my clients and honestly, I might never even ask you to look at my camera. Sessions with me are relaxed, hopefully, fun and filled with lots of love. Oh and I probably will most likely ask you to kiss about 400 times during your session, so it helps if my clients aren’t too terribly afraid of open affection. I specialize in sessions with couples, maternity, and newborns. I particularly love newborn sessions that are in-hospital just hours after the baby has arrived. Those are fleeting moments and often a blur to new families, so to be able to capture those first precious details right after the baby has arrived is amazing. Oh gosh, and I almost forgot, I also love documenting military homecomings. My own family experienced many deployments over the course of my husband’s career, so I feel crazy blessed to now be able to document them for other military families.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
There are many incredible photography organizations, education platforms, and communities that are currently promoting the female voice and perspective in photography today. While they may be in the minority, they are doing amazing work elevating the value of female photographers each and every day. I have been so fortunate to be a part of some of these communities and see the awesome work that they are doing. I believe that women do however need greater representation in the industry. I think that sometimes, it can be as simple as seeing one woman in a position of leadership and that lending itself to other women striving to do the same. Seeing women in leadership roles creates a new norm and allows countless other women to strive for similar positions. Now, of course, this can be easier said than done, but if the greater photography community collectively celebrates the female perspective, all kinds of diverse perspectives, then the industry will benefit as a whole. More opportunities will become available to men and women alike when we push the boundaries relating to who can tell a story with their images, or who can sit in positions of authority. Women need to continue to celebrate and be champions for one another. The success of one woman will in no way diminish the potential success of another. There is a limitless room for us all to grow alongside one another and to succeed alongside one another as well. Similarly, women need male allies as well in the industry. If our amazing male peers can keep gender equality in mind when making hiring and promotional decisions they can do wonders for equalizing the playing field and opening up opportunities for women.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Headshot: Kara Chappell Photography

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