Very early on in my childhood I had a passion to help people. From holding a neighborhood kid’s hand when they fell off their bike, to giving away all my earned chore money to homeless people as I passed by them on the streets of downtown portland; I was a full blown humanitarian from the womb. Figuring out how my profession or future endeavors could envelope a meaningful and compassionate lifestyle was, and continues to be, an unsolved journey. On top of that, my inability to go about daily life without an established plan was the reason why my destiny was predetermined at the age of 10. All my actions became calculated in order to follow my path of being a doctor. Though I loved being artistic and expressing myself through art and fashion, working in medicine anticipated a more comfortable lifestyle that a creative career in either fashion, design or art could not provide. Being a doctor aided people the way I thought was only possible, it had a direct tangible impact on people. Plus Dr. Dempsey had a pretty nice ring to it… My path was then set. Dr. Dempsey it would be.
Eight years pass bringing me to my sophomore year at the University of Oregon. I had finished two years of pre-med, still believing that the only way I could have a meaningful career was to go through med school. Science came easy to me (not considering the chemistry sequence that tested and almost destroyed my overall sanity), so Dr. Dempsey still seemed fitting for that charitable future I dreamed of obtaining. Though I still craved a more creative lifestyle, I stuck it out. Spring time came around my sophomore year; I somehow was able to land myself a position at the U of O catering department working with social media. My position consisted of going to our catered events and taking pictures for their Facebook, twitter and website. Since I was taking pictures, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a nice camera of my own. I do have to give thanks to my roommate who was an art major at the time and bought a nice camera of her own for her school projects. Due to occasionally using her camera, I thought it would be beneficial to buy a DSLR of my own since I was taking pictures at catering events for social media and would also be traveling to Europe in a few short months to study abroad. Who would have known that photography would open a world up of creativity and change my outlook on how to achieve a humanitarian career.
I came back from studying abroad in Europe, specifically Siena, Italy, which will forever hold a place in my heart, and decided I would attempt at a photography business on the side for extra money to help pay for school. Even though I was an amateur (technically still am), my name spread quickly and I was starting to be contacted about shooting things that I had no experience in. I was very nervous but decided to be brave and confident in my abilities and just go for it. Over the course of the year I shot multiple greek life events, food, bathing suits, boudoir, senior portraits, and a bunch of other things in between. My love for photography and creating images consumed my overall mind and existence. I was starting to look at life in a completely different way. Not only did I fall in love with photography, but I fell in love with expressing myself through creative images. My life plan as Dr. Dempsey started to fade while my passion for art and creativity continued to grow.
Taking those risks in attempting something that I had never thought I would be even remotely good at changed my outlook on life and my set plan I had created for my future. Not only am I happier (not to say I wasn’t happy on my road to Dr. Dempsey), but I allowed myself to be open to other opportunities that could have been a better fit for my future. Although, I was still unsure how being a photographer or pursuing a career that was more creative could benefit or help people. This is where Sseko fell into place. By picking up a camera one year ago, I was given the opportunity to intern at a company that not only directly helps people, but strives to break the cycle of uneducated women in Uganda. By being a photography intern at Sseko, I get to spread awareness about Sseko designs and the beautiful message that comes along with it. I still don’t have my life figured out, but one thing that I have learned over the course of my college experience is that having a plan is beneficial, but don’t close the door to other possibilities that could end up being your passion or show you another outlet for accomplishing your dreams. Life is full of surprises and by being brave enough to try something new, you could end up doing exactly what you want, just in a completely different way then you thought possible.
This post was written by our Summer ’16 photography intern, Hana. Follow along with her work here!