Alaska opened my eyes,

lit up my soul and

wrapped its life around me in such an intense way that

Photo by Kitty Maer

I am not sure it ever let go. 

I was ten. My Aunt who lives in Alaska was getting married and for some crazy reason wanted to spend her honeymoon with us, her family from Ohio and Chicago, for two weeks in two RVs. We climbed glaciers, watched Blue Whales breaching in the Gulf, and played A LOT of cards. 

But one the memories that sticks out to me the most is one that happened right 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, and calmly called me over. She lifted me up and right there in the backyard of her house which sat nestled in on her culdesac 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.

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 whatever they were doing and fully committed to finding the little ones 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 incredibly it was to have that kind of community behind you.

I had been riding my bike to the convenience store to get disposable cameras ever since my trip to Alaska and watching my Grandpa with his camera. 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.

Craving more "what the f*ck moments" I moved to Cholula, Mexico for three months in 2008 to study Art and Design. I bought (or better made it the only thing on my Christmas list that year) my first DSLR camera and cared for it as it was my first born. I rarely put it down and brought it with me everywhere.

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 the head 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 finish my degree in Visual Communications from Ohio University

2009 get an internship at an Ad Agency & quickly realize my heart isn’t in it when the Art Director asks me,
        “What do you REALLY want to do?”

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

2011 move back to Columbus, Ohio and get 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 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 getting and giving/listening and sharing all with and underlying mission of compassion 

So, here I am. Here we are. Maybe you a sitting close by here in San Antonio, Texas 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