I have always been asked the question, "when did you become a photographer?" I never really know how to answer that question because I honestly don't remember the time I became a photographer. It was always a part of me.
My parents have pictures of me when I was a child taking "photos" with either toy cameras or with their old film cameras they no longer used (which then became MY cameras). There was never any film in it so I didn't really take photographs, but the idea was already planted.
I got my first camera, while I was very young. I honestly can't remember that age, but I know I had bangs, wavy brown hair, and didn't wear glasses yet. So from that reasoning, before I was 8 years old. (I had to start wearing glasses in second grade).
I loved it. I took pictures of anything and everything, not understanding the basics - lighting, composition, focus. When I look back on those photo albums full of photos the only thing I can say is "Bad. So bad." But I made those albums because I fell in love with this art form. I wanted to capture my life just how it was. It was a part of me.
I was ecstatic when I found out I could take photography in high school. Finally, I can take a class with something I love. That is when I started what I consider my "training."
Intro to Photography started and when I read the course syllabus I read the words, Black and White Film Photography and was stunned to know we would be going back to what I would consider the stone age. At that time, it was all about the point and shoot cameras you could fit in your pocket. I remember vividly seeing those ALL over everyone's profile pictures on Myspace. (Yes, that was the in thing at the time). I thought why are we going back to film?
Mrs. Fowler is now one mentor I admire and will continue to admire for the rest of my life. She taught me so many things and helped me fall deeper in love with photography. She let us express ourselves, try new things, push boundaries, and pretty much live in the dark room while we were in school.
She taught us the importance of black and white film photography. It forces you to learn the best way to shoot photography, manual mode. I honestly don't even really remember how to use automatic mode, because my camera is never set on that. Not only did she teach me the importance of manual mode, but she taught us "photo kids" a lot about growing up and pursing this career. (So thank you Fowler, if you ever get to read this, for everything you did for us. You inspired us more than you know to pursue what we love, whether that be photography or not. But you taught us to see the world differently than most and that means the world to me.)
Intro to photography turned into two more years of photo classes. After high school, I went to college - first to Ivy Tech in Bloomington to get my general ed classes out of the way for cheap and then to Ball State to pursue my love of photojournalism.
During those years I learned an abundance of information from lighting to editing do's and don'ts and everything in between. I made a lot of friends and had a lot of opportunities to grow into the adult that I am now. (What's an adult? Really?)
Graduation happened and to hold off getting a real job while searching for one, I took on an internship and a summer immersive learning experience working at the Indiana State Fair. That is when I was disappointed in myself. I had not received one single job offer in photojournalism. I was devastated. I had taken a job with early childhood education because I needed to pay the bills. I felt defeated and honestly had a lot of issues with it. I thought I was not good enough for this field, I would never be good enough and that I wasted my time in college getting that degree.
After a few months of my "pity me" stage I decided I was not going to let that define me. That is when I decided to take a very large leap of faith. In October, I started what is Kaytee Lorentzen Photography, or KLP.
I am so happy that I did. No, it is not my full time job (yet!). But I am so happy that I have been able to start this adventure. I have been introduced to so many people and have been given so many opportunities because I decided to start something new. I will admit, it is terrifying and expensive (on the front end) to start a business. But, I didn't let that stop me.
I am a photographer. I always have been. I wasn't going to let a speed bump in the road stop me. Now, I am LOVING being the boss of this business and seeing the faces of my clients when I show them their photographs. That moment is what makes everything worth it.
Thank you for hearing my story.
Kaytee Lorentzen | Owner of Kaytee Lorentzen Photography