About Clear Portraits by Fabienne
When I try to identify the moments or times in my life that helped develop my love of photography, two memories come to mind. Undoubtedly, I was influenced by my parents who continually acquired various collections of interesting paintings and objects that filled our home. That love of art led my father and mother to discover photography as the means through which they could personally express themselves. As a little girl, I remember watching my dad develop pictures of my brothers’ ice hockey games in his own dark room, and it was here where I first learned the ‘magic’ behind the photographic process. Then, when I was 16, my family moved from Paris, France to Cincinnati, Ohio. The opportunity to be fully emerged in two cultures at a formative time in my life created a greater awareness within me of the vast differences that exist in the world: as a result, my hunger and passion to capture the uniqueness surrounding me deepened, and I began relentlessly taking pictures.
When I saw athletes caught in mid-air in a Sports Illustrated magazine, I observed the power a camera could seize in a split second; when I visited Florida and saw miles of orange groves for the first time, I realized my obligation to communicate nature’s incomparable beauty through photography. I felt inspired and at the same time feared that if I stopped telling stories through my camera, a valuable moment could be lost forever.
One could say I became ‘fluent’ in photography at the same time I became fluent in the English language. And so I chose to study photography in college alongside my more practical major of economics. It was at Miami University where I met my photography professor, the first person who viewed my work as having serious potential. I remember when he looked at a series of pictures I had composed and said, “There’s definitely something here.” For a long time, I did not acknowledge the significance of this statement, nor did I allow myself to view my hobbies as a means to a successful professional career. Upon graduation, I relegated my passions of horseback riding and photography to the weekends and instead pursued a full-time occupation in finance.
It was not until years later when I volunteered to photograph the students in my daughter’s class would I choose to accept the value that my photographs could bring to the lives of others. Several parents echoed the same sentiment my college professor had years before and mentioned that somehow my pictures of their children evoked thoughtful emotions within them. It took that echo, that second recognition of my work, to change my perspective to believing that something I found as fulfilling as photography could also be my profession.
Now, when I take pictures, that same sense of awe comes over me as when I was 16. Except rather than focusing on incredible athletes or scenes in nature, I find magnificence in the expressions of children; being a mother taught me to see that. And while my love for my children and parenting has since eclipsed the time I once spent horseback riding, my love for animals remains, and I find joy in capturing on film the intrinsic meaning animals add to our lives. Where I once felt the need to reveal the apparent uniqueness of everything in every corner of the world, I now focus on using photography to convey the distinctive story of each individual and each family.