Why the name change?
That you are here - that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
I was born and raised on a farm in the golden fields of Manitoba, Canada. Outside the confines of city walls, straight lines, and paved streets. It was in these wide landscapes and colorful, expansive skies I first began to photograph. My film camera and I explored everywhere together.
I may have only been 9 years old, capturing my friends at slumber parties or finding beauty in the woods on the outskirts of our farm but I was already drawn to the outdoors, human stories, and enjoyed capturing people in natural elements. Photographing professionally seemed a dream inspired by my fascination with National Geographic and admiring my Uncle Jim who traveled the world as a nature photographer.
When my photography business took root in 2011, two decades later, it seemed fitting to name it Leaves of Grass Photography. Not only was it an earthy name, I learned that my vision for photography fell in line with Walt Whitman's works in his book, Leaves of Grass: that each of us exists to contribute our part in the great play of life. Whitman's work holds melancholy and joy, authenticity and raw emotion, reflecting the real lives of the Americans he wrote about in his poetry. As is also reflected in the Psalms, our days on earth are like wildflowers, we bloom and die. As a Photographer I seek to document, or "story", these our fleeting moments we long to hold close forever: pregnancy, birth, childhood, graduation, new love, marriage, newborns coming home and 50 year anniversaries; this is my great joy!
So, why change your name, now?
When clients book a photography service, they are booking a person, an artist, a photographer. From a business point of view, people are more inclined to connect to an individual rather than a quaint business name. As the sole photographer for my business, I am my own brand. My name will never change. But my business will. Most of the professional wedding photographers I admire are self-branded: Jasmine Star, Jose Villa, Marc Pacura, Susan Stripling, Roberto Valenzuela, to name a few. I can't tell you how many inquires I get from clients who don't even know my name because Leaves of Grass doesn't tell them who they are writing. I've learned that genuine, ongoing relationships with my clients is what my branding is all about. By simply being "Pamela" I hope clients will find their connection with me immediate and personal from the beginning.
Through personal life experiences, time spent working with all kinds of people and thousands upon thousands of shutter clicks later, I've learned, grown and changed. I'm no longer the person, or artist, I was when I began. I have by no means "arrived", if that's even possible for an artist, or anyone. But another 6 years from now I will have had more life experiences, and yet another six more years behind the camera. I'm sure my work will again look different from today: it's a natural part of the creative process. A newly refined portfolio allows me to showcase the direction I want to take my art. And having thought about a name change for a while now, and then locating to a new city, it felt like the right time for fresh start.
I've always wanted a space for my writing, alongside my photography work. In the past, I've struggled with integrating my professional photography with my personal writing life. By personalizing my brand, I hope to be able to merge these two interests on one platform through a Journal blog.
what won't change
My work will continue to be inspired by Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. It will continue to be rooted in what inspires me most: documenting the important relationships, love and stories of our lives in an outdoor setting, which is where my heart and work thrives.
It's amazing how life's unexpected turns have brought me from spacious skies, to quiet northern Minnesota to most recently, a small home for six in Eden Prairie, MN. Who'd have guessed. Here, in suburbia, right outside of Minneapolis, I've learned to appreciate the straight lines, our stunning skyline, and city of lakes. But bring me love in field with a glowing sunset any time, or a Colorado mountain top wedding ceremony; my camera and I explore everywhere together.
"I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars." - Walt Whitman
A note for my clients:
I'm incredibly grateful for you who first hired me, and continued to follow my work, and many became friends. YOU are my biggest cheerleaders, and I wouldn't be able to have created a successful business without you. THANK YOU. xoxo!