Me Ra KOh
I didn’t find photography.
Photography found me.
And then it healed me.
I started as a writer.
For 10 years I worked on one book, Beauty Restored: Finding Life and Hope After Date Rape. The heart of this book was to be a message of hope to women and their husbands/boyfriends, parents and friends. I wanted them to know they were not alone in their pain. It is based on my own painful experience of being date raped in college and how I went from living out of my car, checking into a psychiatric ward, and eventually finding hope to rebuild a life worth living.
Almost ten years later, on March 20th, 2001, the first day of spring, I birthed two babies; my beautiful, firstborn, Pascaline and Beauty Restored. When Pascaline was three months old we hit the road and for the next 18 months did over 50 National TV Shows and Radio Interviews. While my little one slept in the backs of churches and colleges, I was up front sharing my story and hoping one woman would feel hope again.
After two amazing years on the road, Brian and I were pregnant with our second. His name was Aidan, our little fire. While in TN for a week long speaking tour I started experiencing abdominal pains and three weeks later our baby Aidan’s heartbeat stopped.
After losing Aidan, I couldn’t speak or write and sought refuge in Brian and Pascaline’s love. During those times of grief, I picked up a camera. Pascaline’s innocence was precious from every view point. I found myself working to capture her story: the times she couldn’t stop giggling, the times she curled into the safety of daddy’s arms, the asleep time, the fussy and frustrated times, the first time she played with a yellow balloon… Friends and family started noticing the photos and asked me to photograph their kids. Soon brides were contacting me for their weddings. I had gone from speaking to 800 women at a conference and sharing my story, to finding healing behind a camera. Life had taken this unexpected turn and now I was given the privilege to artistically capture another woman’s story on her wedding day. Photography had found me.
A new chapter of life unfolded, a chapter of writing other people’s stories through images. Stories of new beginnings, moments of choosing to trust. Every time we shot a wedding I would see these moments; a grandmother reaches to squeeze the bride’s hand, a groom whispers in his bride’s ear, and then her giggle afterwards, a father’s tears while he dances with his daughter. What could be more worthy of capturing than these moments?
Photography is not just an art, trade or skill. It’s a tool of healing for myself and those I have the honor of capturing. When we approach the camera as a healing tool, the world opens it’s heart to us.