How do you evangelize through your work?
I’ll be honest with you – I don’t know. I meet people through work and so far I don’t know of anyone that has come to believe in Jesus – because of me or my photography.
For me evangelization means – to love people, to give them your time, your heart and attention… and that’s what I am trying to do. I come to every client with an open heart and a willingness to listen and serve them, the best I can. I see beauty in them and their relationships. I see light in their eyes and I am trying to capture just that.
Why are you a photographer?
Because I believe photography is my vocation for this moment in my life. God has given me a gift and I am using it to serve others.
How are you so sure that’s what God wants you to do?
I prayed a lot before starting and I felt God is telling me to do this. In 2010, when we received our green cards and I was able to work in America – I had some very important questions: What do I do? What does He want me to do here?
In Europe I was a teacher. I arrived here with a few different Masters degrees – but that meant nothing in this part of the World. It was really difficult to determine which way I should go. Together with my husband, we contemplated many times going on mission with FIDESCO but we finally realized that our mission is right here.
Through many people God showed me what I should do, and on March 19th 2010, the Feast of St. Joseph – we registered our photography business and I bought my first professional camera. I was very excited and took tons of pictures. People were pleasantly surprised by my style of photography and how I captured them in my pictures. They saw things in themselves they had never paid attention to. Because they loved my work, I knew I was doing the right thing.
Have you had any obstacles or surprises along the way?
Sure! Many! I had no idea that being photographer was not just taking beautiful pictures. Ha-ha! I soon found out that I also have to be an accountant, graphic designer, my own secretary, computer specialist, great marketer and Photoshop retoucher. There were so many technical things that I hadn’t thought of. All in addition to being a mom and wife – it’s really crazy!
One year after we started and settled a bit, during a routine annual check up – doctors informed me that I have glaucoma and could loose my vision in less than 6 months.
That was a big shock for me! I was not even 32 years old then. Up until then I had always had perfect health. I had never even heard of glaucoma.
I didn’t know what to do at all. In a split second, nothing made sense. I prayed, and there were no answers. Different medications and laser treatments didn’t work for me. Finally, after ten long months of testing and searching for a solution, doctors found some drops that were able to lower my eye pressure and stop my optic nerves from disappearing.
For now, everything is under control. Yet, while I don’t see many things in my camera, I am still able to see the person standing in front of it.
That must have been very scary. Have you ever thought about quitting?
Yes. I argued with God so many times. I longed for Him to tell me to do something else. But He never redirected my path. Consequently, I made a promise to God: I told Him that I would be His body and walk and serve every person He sends me, but He had to provide for my family and be my light and sharpness at every session. He had to help me get through everything I had yet to live.
The Lord is my business partner. No matter what problem I have, such as financial issues, I go to Him and talk about the situation. He always provides! I believe, just like the “FIG TREE” (the name of my business) in Holy Scriptures, I cannot bear any fruit all on my own. I am too small and imperfect. Only God can bring forth fruits from my life and my work. Only He can change people’s hearts and make them feel loved.
Why did you choose family photography as opposed to other types of photography, such as wedding or school photography?
Because family is important to me and should be important to anyone that has a family.
In today’s world many children grow up in front of TV’s and computers. Couples don’t see each other very often with their busy schedules of work and other responsibilities. Moms don’t seem to have the energy or time to take care of themselves like they use to. I believe it’s super important to stop and make time for each other. We have to make time to discover the beauty of family and marriage; to appreciate each child that God gives us. We need to find joy in our families and see the goodness in this gift. We have to stop and take time to think about how much we actually have and learn to appreciate it.
I know it’s hard on a day-to-day basis, but it is possible. It is possible to slow down and enjoy the little time we have together. I’ve created the special kinds of photography sessions, where kids can be kids, husbands and wives can rediscover the person they fell in love with, all over again. It does not matter if you have been married ten, twenty or forty years! In most of the couples I have photographed – the love is still there.
In one sentence: frankly, I want to give these families the proof, through beautiful photography, that they are beautiful together! I want to create photos that show their love so that there can be no reason for divorce; and yet, even if it does happen, they will always have my photos to show them just how much they have lost.
Have you ever had a moment at work where you knew that God had touched someone through your photography?
Yes. Most of the times I can see this in my “Glamour” sessions – when we do a makeover and create a very special day for a mom. Women feel beautiful again. Sometimes they even begin to cry because they haven’t felt so special in a long time or they haven’t heard how beautiful they are. They walk out feeling more loved and confident. Sometimes I also witness God’s touch in my “Beloved” sessions. During these sessions I ask couples to talk to each other about a certain topic. Soon they begin to open up to each other and share deeply, perhaps even things they have never shared before. I never hear what they are saying to one another, but in witnessing this, in their crying and holding each other hands, I witness something good taking place and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
Seems like a wonderful job. Do you have any desires or plans for the near future?
Sure I do! I am a person with so many ideas and not enough time to make them happen.
I hope, perhaps even sometime this year, that I will be able to photograph kids from the nearest adoption center. I hope that through my photography they will have a greater chance at finding a good family that will take care of them. However, for now I am very busy with so many things. But, I believe that with God, all things are possible!
Besides being a very talented photographer, Patricia is happily married to her husband Michal and a mother of three energetic and creative boys. They reside in Pennsylvania where Patricia runs her family photography business. Be sure to check out her website and read her wonderful blog at www.figtreephotodesign.com/blog You can also visit and like her Facebook page. Both Patricia and her husband are members of the Emmanuel Community.