Why do I specialize in photographing children in their first year?
For a lot of women who do what I do, that's an easy answer. They became a mom. Well, it's not so simple for me. I don't have any kids. I was fourteen when my youngest sister was born and had a big part in raising her. I got to see early on what it takes to be a parent. Maybe that scared me!?
So, why do I love photographing children and babies so much? Growing up we never had a family portrait taken. I do have some little baby sized portraits of me and my older sister, taken at a mall studio. They are displayed prominently on my dresser and I cherish them. But no big family portrait was ever hanging on the wall in any of my childhood homes. When I was a young teen, my parents started to loose their way. They both struggled with drug use and things just kind of spiraled. My parents never had a strong sense of family. Their priorities were elsewhere and while I was provided the basic necessities in my younger years, there was always a longing for what I saw in other households. Togetherness.
Being a photographer has allowed me to celebrate family. To experience all the happiest moments life has to offer. Seeing their image on the wall tells a child, you are loved. I want to give that to every child in front of my camera. I want them to know they are loved and cherished. That's "my why."
These days I am Aunt Shannon to 7 little ones and I love every minute of it.