Alaska opened my eyes,

lit up my soul +

wrapped its life around me in such an

intense way that

I'm not sure it ever let go.

Photo by Kitty Maer

I was ten when I had my first big travel experience. My Aunt Lisa who lives in Alaska was getting married and for some crazy reason wanted to spend her honeymoon with her entire family. For two weeks in two RVs we roamed around Alaska climbing glaciers, watching Blue Whales breaching in the Gulf, and playing A LOT of card games. 

Amongst hundreds of memories the one that sticks out to me the most happened at my Aunt’s house in Anchorage. She was washing the dishes, likely regretting inviting all these people who she was cleaning up after on her honeymoon, when she calmly called me into the kitchen. She lifted me up and right there in the backyard of her house, which sat nestled in a common residential neighborhood, was a Moose. I was so excited and simply shocked. That excitement was soon trumped when someone in my family started yelling, “Kelsey and Jenna are missing.”

My sister and cousin, all of seven-years-old, decided to go on a little adventure.

Where I am from in Ohio when a little one goes missing, sure you panic. You start running around, yelling their names, and calling the neighbors. This was different. The entire neighborhood stopped what they were doing and fully committed to finding these two little girls and fast. 

"What a wild way to live I remember thinking."

I remember being scared just because of how scared all of the adults seemed. They weren’t scared for the reason I was; Mom is going to be so mad at you. They were scared because of bears and that moose that looked so cute behind the safety of walls. What a wild way to live I remember thinking. But also, how incredible it was to have that kind of community behind you.

Once we returned back to Ohio I had began riding my bike to the convenience store to get disposable cameras. Traveling to Alaska and watching my Grandpa with his camera ignited something inside of myself. He took photos of us on the pebble beaches there and I remember that feeling of really slowing down and capturing those memories. I remember how special my connection felt with my Grandpa while he had that camera in his hands, carefully setting up the perfect composition while adjusting the exposure to capture a shilloute of us.

Fast forward about 10 years I found myself raving more "what the f*ck moments". I packed my bags and headed to Cholula, Mexico for three months in 2008 to study Art and Design. I got my first DSLR camera for that holiday season before I left and cared for it as it was my first born. I rarely put it down and it went everywhere with me.

Cholula, Mexico

Cholula, Mexico

When the quarter was over I cried, like an embarrassing amount of tears. I wasn’t ready to go back. As I was preparing to tell my professor and my Mom that I wasn’t going to be on that flight home a friend of mine reminded me of a little thing called the big picture. She told me this is just the beginning and doesn’t have to be the end of discovering different cultures and putting yourself out there into the world. 

The rest went something like this:

2009 Finished my degree in Visual Communications from Ohio University.

2009 Got an internship at an Advertising Agency and quickly realize my heart wasn't in it when the Art Director asked me,
        “What do you REALLY want to do?”

2010 Moved to Korat, Thailand to teach ESL at a school with over 4,000 girls. Traveled around Thailand, Laos, India              and Nepal truly learning lessons I never thought I needed to know.

2011 move back to Columbus, Ohio and got my first big girl job as a Senior Graphics Associate at a
        publication company

2015 knowing this wasn’t ‘it’ I leave my first big girl job to go... 

  • take more photographs, period. whether it may be: travel, portraits, food, yogis, or creative entrepreneurs - just take more photographs
  •  design more with creative freedom
  •  travel and explore, duh
  •  create a global community by creating art that does good

So, here I am. Here we are. Maybe you a sitting close by here in Columbus, Ohio or somewhere on the other side of the world. Either way, I have learned through my time walking in other people’s footsteps that we are all connected, we are all after happiness and we are all made of the same “stuff”. RATIO is a visual reminder of all of that and I am so thrilled to share it with you.

see more of my lifestyle photography at Morgan Whitney Photography