Photography by Making beautiful memories Photography, LLC
Meet Courtney. She is Beauty Revived.
I met Courtney online through a photography community. All I knew was she is a photographer, a really good one at that and a quick glance at her profile/website had said she is a mechanical engineer. Being an engineer myself, I got fascinated by reading that as very rarely I found people with an engineering background and an interest in art.
I wrote on her Facebook page that I am an Engineer as well and would love to connect. Quickly we became ‘Facebook’ friends. Fast forward to a few weeks later, Courtney had posted something about her husband’s job relocation to California. Shortly, I found out later that she was moving closer to where I live, only an hour and a half away. We messaged each other and I stated that I was excited to meet her when she moves here. Following on that conversation, she mentioned she has 6 kids and I was unable to read anything beyond that without constantly asking myself, “How?” “How does she do it?”
A couple of months down the line when I found out I was chosen as one of the 50 photographers for the Mother’s campaign, I was set out to find someone whom I could identify with. Someone who was a positive example to women and motherhood. Courtney was exactly that. Courtney joined the army after having kids. She pursued her engineering degree after having kids. She could connect with anyone through a quick conversation even through messenger.
We arranged a time and a place to meet and get a photo session as well as our interview scheduled. I was terrified to have another photographer, who was like a mentor to me in front of the camera. However, when we met in person, I could see this Mom, this cheerful woman with abundant positive energy, a smiling and a radiant persona. Despite her 6 kids beside her, I felt on the outside she probably had everything put together perfectly in place and was so well organized. However, she mentioned it was not always like that. “Having teenagers around while taking care of young babies is actually harder than you think. The house is a chaos most days but it isn’t as much as it actually sounds.” she says.
Courtney says she grew up having low self confidence in anything she did. She never knew what it meant to love herself. It didn’t help that she never received the guidance she expected from her parents whom she wanted to look up to either. Her parents moved out of Alaska where she grew up and she was left in her late teens making decisions for herself. After dropping out of college at 19, she took up a job working as a graphic designer – doing photo layouts. Around 24 she decided to go back to school and wanted to do environmental sciences. However, she didn’t exactly know what else to do next. After being re-introduced to math again at that time, a professor who later became her role model had mentioned to her that she should pursue engineering. She really didn’t think she could it but started taking some math and science courses and realized she actually enjoyed this and started her path towards obtaining a B.E in mechanical degree.
She finally had her 4 year degree while having kids and decided to then enter the National guard in South Carolina after her husband came out of it. She said her experience in the National guard taught her so much about life, independence and being physically fit that she never knew what she herself was capable of.
With relation to photography, she had her first camera when she was 11. She was always interested in photography throughout and took up a few classes in a community college to advance her knowledge further. After being involved in a few magazines and other photography communities, Courtney grew her art even further and got involved as a mentor to many other aspiring photographers.
Courtney’s story through her childhood and later as a Mom, a career woman, pursuing her hobbies and a wife crosses so many paths that so many us women struggle to stay afloat with even in today’s world. She says one thing that life has taught her through her experiences is to “Never think you cannot achieve something.” Her accomplishments along with her struggles helped her see life in a positive way growing up and having kids which she hopes her kids will inherit. As Courtney said to me when I met her, “If you want to continue your passions and anything you want to do in life, you don’t have to stop that after becoming a Mom.” This is something that I wish each woman learns about herself.