“It's mind-boggling to think about how many families I've been a part of in my career as a human.” Carol Ellis
Through my photographer’s lens, I’m able to witness, to be a part of, to get to know, and to share the joy of family experiences. Family… that feeling that warms the heart, provides comfort and shelter, fills one with kindness and caring, and whose likeness ends up as a magnet on the refrigerator door.
Like so many others whose job depends on tourism, working holidays and weekends during the “season” is a fact of life. Yes, while during these times, the only family that comes to visit is the cat in the middle the night, there's that other family to which we belong: the family of humankind.
A neighbor out for a morning stroll with her visiting family stops to ask me if I would be going anywhere for the holidays. I reply, “No. I’m here. Part of what I do, is being there for what you do.”
At a recent birthday celebration, the hostess pinned a number 17 sticker on my shirt; just by showing up with my camera, I represented one of 85 gifts, one for each year of the honoree’s life. That Friday night, as the family sat down to eat, they did so in celebration of the Shabbat, and began by lighting candles 17 minutes before sunset. I thought, the number 17… I have been doing this job of photographer full-time for 17 years, my studio occupies the former living space of my mother-in-law “Saint” Helen, born St. Patricks Day, March 17. Something is telling me I was meant to be in this place and time witnessing this event. Ya think…
I’ve been told that to be successful in life, you must be passionate about what you do. The other part is knowing when it is time to move on.
While in my early to mid twenties I went to sea as crew, despite protests from my family who could not understand why I’d risk my life in pursuit of the unknown. During my first passage across the Atlantic, we encountered a hurricane, whose wind force broke the main boom, and I had to learn how to navigate in order to survive. Those were the days when I learned that God protects drunks and little babies, and I was not too sure which category I fit into. While sailing I became a part of another family, that of boat bums, mariners and adventurous souls.
Five years, and seven trans Atlantic's later, I woke up and I said “I’m out of here. Been there, done that.”
My next stop was Ocean Reef, where I became a tennis fanatic, racquet stringer, and tennis club manager, until one day I woke up and said “I don't want to do this anymore. I want to be a photographer.”
As with family, and that feeling of belonging, so too I find inclusion through my camera work. I have played a part in many a joyful, to the verge of tearful, moments. A fellow worker’s comment sums it up: “Upon my return to Ocean Reef after Irma I had happy tears, for it felt like I had reconnected with family.”
And now when folks my age are thinking about retiring, I say retire from what? Retire from being me?
My wish for everyone during the holidays and throughout the year, is no less than I would want for myself: to have a loving family, compassionate and encouraging friends, good health and the courage to fulfill your every dream.
Have a JOYFUL holiday.
This photographic website provides me the opportunity for self-expression, for sharing