As far back as I can remember, I have always had a natural interest in photography. As a young girl, I was always the one taking the photos in my family. I didn’t even realize photography was a thing, I just knew I liked taking pictures.
Even with this natural love for photography, I only saw it as a hobby, it wasn’t a “real” job in my young mind.
It wasn’t until I found myself at Cal State University Fullerton that my eyes were opened. I had applied with a Liberal Arts major, but just one semester later, I quickly changed it to Photocommunications. It was the first time, I started to see this love of mine as a possible career. But even then, it was through the lens of journalism and not portraiture.
But I struggled. My natural style was clashing with the journalistic approach my professors taught. I vividly remember one class, it was critique day, and boy did I dread those. While students had submitted gritty, dark, and edgy street images, I had submitted a candid portrait of a grandfather and granddaughter. I loved it, it was a beautiful moment, but in class, it was teased and laughed at, it was too “Hallmark-y” they said.
After that, my love for photography was lost. Heartbroken and defeated, I stored my camera away.
It wasn’t until three years later that I went looking for that camera. It was the day before my scheduled c-section and I wanted to photograph my very pregnant self. I set up the self-timer and a few clicks later my “maternity session” was done.
I didn’t share my pictures with very many people, but enough to eventually be asked to take a friend’s maternity photos, and then another, and then another. Slowly but surely I began to fall in love with photography all over again and I saw the path to a career that makes my heart skip a beat. But this time, it was my photography, my style, my way.
This dream of mine, of being a photographer, wouldn’t have happened had it not been for my daughter. And so, to honor her, I took the last four letters of my name and the last four letters of her name, and Lina + lena Photography was born.