I first met Tina on an outing with a new friend. Laura and I had made plans to visit the Stonehenge Memorial and Tina asked if she could join. The three of us had fun exploring this new location and getting to know each other.

When we met for her consult Tina told me she agreed to the portrait session because she wants to share her story with others. She believes her story can be an inspiration for other women.

So without further ado allow me to introduce you to my friend Tina . . . .

Tina is from India. She says that women there have been conditioned for years to believe that their only purpose in life is to get married, keep their husbands happy, have children, and take care of their home. Women who break free from this mindset are viewed with scorn and criticized by society. Over the years women have lost their self-confidence and ability do things for themselves even if they were qualified and well-educated.

Tina, however, was fortunate to be raised in a broad-minded, and well-educated family. Her parents taught her to be brave, work hard and reach for the stars. But growing up she was exposed to the ugliness of gender inequality, and the harassment and violence against women on the streets, schools, and workplaces in India. When she lost her father as a teenager she was devastated. Her marriage at an early age made things worse. Although she had an MBA degree and a promising career, she gave it all up to be a stay-at-home mom when her son was born.

woman, studio portrait, wilsonville

 

After ten years of living in an unhappy marriage, she was finally able to escape it in 2010. But she was not just emotionally broken, she was left with no money, no job, and no home.

With the support of her mother, she was able to slowly heal herself emotionally and start to rebuild her life. She found a job in an IT company, and in 2013 earned an opportunity to come to the United States for a six-month project. The moment she stepped out of the airplane and took her first breath of air in the US, she burst into tears and knew that this would be the turning point in her life.

woman, studio, wilsonville

She fell in love with Oregon at first sight. The spectacular greenery and natural beauty that she saw from the window of her airplane swept her off her feet. The kindness of the people and community spirit that she experienced during her stay, stole her heart. She was amazed at how much freedom and empowerment women had here. The fact that women were treated with respect and could walk freely on the streets without being harassed, blew her mind. She knew then that this was where she wanted to spend the rest of her life. Those six months were truly the best months of her entire life.

She went back to India after completing her project and requested her company to move her permanently to their office in Beaverton, Oregon. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but she was not willing to give up. She quit her job and decided that she would somehow get back to Oregon on her own. She then applied to Portland State University for a Master of Science program.

woman in sari, studio, wilsonville

Tina was accepted at PSU in the Fall of 2015. She came back to Oregon with her son and started her new life here as a graduate student. As a foreign student, she was initially permitted to work only within the university campus on a minimum wage. But she worked hard to earn three scholarships that completely paid for her second year’s tuition. She then went on to graduate her Master’s program in less than two years with a 4.0 GPA.

woman, studio, wilsonville

Tina is today hired by one of the largest multinational software companies in the United States and lives in Happy Valley, Oregon with her son who now goes to high school. Tina spends her free time volunteering and giving back as much as possible to the community. She believes in the power of prayer and says that God always brings the right people, circumstances, and opportunities in her life at the right time. All she has to do is recognize them, and pursue them with optimism and focused persistence.

woman, studio, wilsonville

She wants to reach out to women all over the world and tell them that if she was able to do this, they can do whatever their heart desires too.

She believes that anybody can turn their life around, however bad their situation might be, by staying positive, taking the right chances, and not giving up on their dreams.

woman, studio, wilsonville

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Oh my! Where does the time go? Today I get to introduce you to my nephew Nick. I’ve watched him grow from a shy toddler to the athletic young man he is today. Over the years I’ve been amazed at the acrobatic stunts this guy is capable of. From flips on the trampoline (or off the roof of a house) to climbing up doorframes, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d grown up to be a circus performer.

Today Nick plays football, does high jumps and runs hurdles for his high school track team. Just the other night I watched him outrun most of the other players on the football field as he chased down the opposing player trying for a touchdown. He’s also a gifted artist and musician. And his humor . . . .  oh my, he’s hysterical. But you’ve got to be paying attention or you’ll miss the one-liners that will have you in stitches.

For his senior photo’s Nick wanted to go to Winema, a summer camp on the Oregon Coast. He spends several weeks there each summer both attending and helping out with the various summer camps. Both Nick and his older brother Avery wanted their senior pictures done here. It was a fun challenge to get photos of Nick that didn’t look the same as his brothers.

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

high school senior, beach, class 2019

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

 

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

high school senior, beach, class of 2019

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I first met Laura on one of the hikes she organizes at our church. We later met up for our own adventure to the Stonehenge Memorial. It’s much easier to get to know someone when you are in a car with them for 2-3 hours. 😉 Laura is a kind person who seems willing to make new friends where ever she goes. She has a lovely smile that is always ready to go.

I had a great time working with Laura in the studio. She agreed to be photographed because she thought it would be fun and she enjoys creativity. I got to see some of her creativity as she brought her own ideas into the session creating some fun images I would not have thought of.

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

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I was excited to get the opportunity to photograph my friend Rachel and her daughter Ember. Rachel and I have been friends since college. From the beginning of our friendship, I have admired Rachel’s bubbly personality. She always has a smile ready to go.

Meeting her daughter Ember was quite the treat. She’s a spunky fireball who was not really interested in getting her picture taken. But she tolerated me sticking my camera in her face, probably because I gave her toys to play with. LOL!!

I was anticipating the opportunity to photograph Rachel and Ember because I wanted to capture that special relationship between mother and daughter. The first thing these two did when they sat down was to look at each other and say their signature phrase.

I love watching mother’s interacting with their children. There is something magical about watching a mom play with her child.

mother and daughter, wilsonville studio, family portrait

mother and daughter, wilsonville studio, family portrait

mother and daughter, wilsonville studio, family portrait

mother and daughter, wilsonville studio, family portrait

mother and daughter, wilsonville studio, family portrait

This last image was a bit of an experiment. I had recently acquired an antique table with an interesting design. I wanted to see if it could work as a backdrop. Ember was kind enough to let me capture a few images and I have to admit I like the result. I will definitely have to play with it some more.child, wilsonville studio, portrait

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I’ve known Aaryn for a few years now. But I really got to know her better as we prepared for her photo shoot. She’s a gracious woman, who loves her job as a teacher. Aaryn teaches her students to be kind and believe in themselves. Because she made a commitment to herself to practice what she teaches her students, she agreed to do a photo shoot with me.

During her consult, we had a long conversation about how women, especially moms, don’t really do things for themselves. How we see ourselves differently than others see us. And how we talk to ourselves in ways we would NEVER talk to another person.

This photo shoot was Aaryn’s way of stepping out of those self-defeating habits. I was thrilled when at her reveal session she said, “Maybe this is how people see me”.

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

woman, wilsonville studio, portrait

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  • Dale Hardin

    This is a lovely set, Teresa, and a testimony to your talent. My favorite images is the one on the right at the top of the blog.

    It was super good to see you again and spend some time with you and Stephen. I’m blessed to have friends like you both.

    DaleReplyCancel

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