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Getting Personal: What Photography Means To Me

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I'm a Boudoir Photographer located in Norfolk, VA on a mission to empower people to own their sexuality, step into their power, and embrace their authentic selves!
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Hi, I'm LeZandra

Recently, somebody asked me how I got started with photography.

In high school, I decided to take Photography instead of another AP class. When the course description said that I would learn how to develop my own film, I was intrigued.

But that wasn’t where it started. Looking back on my high school film photos, they were terrible.

We spent most of class just hanging out because our teacher, Mrs. Luster was…for lack of a better word, a little bit nutty. But in the best way ever.

Fast forward to Hawaii. I had moved out of my parents house and in with my then-boyfriend-now-amazingly-awesome-husband.

Here I was, in college, working my butt off. I was so incredibly stressed. To be honest, our marriage was in a rough spot, I was battling with the chaos of my emotions (which I still fight daily), and I had recently been diagnosed Fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder).

Physically and emotionally I felt broken. Every morning I would wake up in agonizing pain. And every day I just wanted to withdraw. I felt my motivation and passion, two things that have always been fiercely burning within me, slipping away. I felt crushed. I felt defeated. I felt like there was no point in going on. It was as though everything was just a waste of time. As a perfectionist failing in what seemed like everything, I felt like giving up.

The physical and emotional pain of daily life was pushing me further and further into my minds abyss. And I was struggling to find the light that would guide me out. 

Rewind to a couple of months prior: I had bought my first dSLR.

I had been frustrated with my previous camera’s ability to capture things in low light.

So, against my husbands wishes, I bought it. We were in no financial state to be purchasing something that was $750. We were a young E4 couple living in Hawaii on one paycheck. We decided to set aside money every month so I could buy it in six months.

But I am so damn stubborn.

The very next day I went out and bought a Canon Xsi. Then four days later, I returned it and bought the Canon T1i. Because I had to have newest Rebel out there 🙂

I used my camera for a while. I took it with me everywhere. But I had no intentions of making a business out of it.

Fast forward to the abyss.

At this point, I was just going through the motions of daily life. I felt like a body moving through the world, but with it’s soul stored in a jar in the corner of some dusty attic.

Photography found me. And for the first time in a long time, I felt that burning passion.

My desire to become a better photographer led me to spending hours upon hours researching lighting, aperture, every technical term you can imagine.

I quickly outgrew my little rebel, and on Valentines Day, I bought myself the Canon 7D as a VDay gift from my husband.

This time, with his permission 🙂

This camera opened up a world of possibilities.

When I say I spent every waking second with it, I mean it. I was obsessed. Not necessarily with the camera, but what I could achieve with it. What I could learn with it. It pushed me to be a better photographer because it forced me to learn an entirely different system.

Five days later I opened my business. 

Between college, marriage, and a medical condition clouding my sense of purpose, there was the light, guiding me to something greater.

Giving me purpose. Relighting my passion. Fueling my insatiable desire to learn and improve. 

Photography pulled me out of my depression. It gave me a love that only I can share with it. It was my own little light that only I could keep burning.

I would be completely lying if I said everything has been perfect since then. I wasn’t a very good photographer when I started out, and I honestly don’t think I am a very good photographer now. But I try. And I will never stop trying. Maybe it’s my stubbornness, maybe it’s because there is always something new for me to learn, but one thing I know is that I will forever be tied to this love of mine.

It is like the lover you cannot ever forget. And no matter how much they hurt you, or frustrate you, you keep coming back to them. 

I can honestly say that photography has saved my life.


June 5, 2012

Comments +

  1. Bonnie Rose says:

    I love your passion and your vision. You keep going strong LeZandra. xx

  2. Luke Lucas says:

    Thanks for this. I’m having a bout with my creativity lately, and this couldn’t have come at a better time. Great story!

  3. Christene says:

    Love this LeZandra. I can relate. I found photography as a way to define myself away from the “Navy Spouse” life. Bouncing from temp job to temp job in between moves was exhausting emotionally. Photography gave me that creative outlet and life purpose I was craving.

  4. terri says:

    wow, AHHHHH-mazing! speaks such high levels of volume, too. i can relate to half of what you said [fighting my emotions daily, etc.] but you’ve grown even in the short time you’ve been out here in virginia. so, imagine what’s next to come for you. as IF you needed any room to grow. which makes you that much more badass, in my opinion. keep on keeping on.

  5. Love the updated BLOG thank for it . LOL

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Getting Personal: What Photography Means To Me

Recently, somebody asked me how I got started with photography. In high school, I decided to take Photography instead of another AP class. When the course description said that I would learn how to develop my own film, I was intrigued. But that wasn’t where it started. Looking back on my high school film photos, […]

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