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Daily Inspiration: Meet Suzana Kim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Suzana Kim.

Hi Suzana, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My interest in photography started when I was in elementary school, taking pictures of people I love and things and events I wanted to remember. To take a memory and encapsulate it into a photo was like magic. The act of capturing and documenting, coupled with the technical and creative aspects of photography to create artful, timeless images became a passion; it’s now completely life-giving for me. I started off as a hobbyist when I bought my first DSLR, photographing as often as I had free time and learning simply by doing. I roamed around all parts of LA taking pictures of nature, the city, food, my travels, and extracurriculars. Years down the line, I ended up taking a film photography class at a community college. There I learned how to be a better observer of light, to master the technical fundamentals, and best of all, to have patience with the shooting process. Working in a darkroom to develop my own film, I grew to appreciate photography as not only an art but as a way to release and destress. Photography is very much a method of self-help for me as it is a passion. I decided to pursue photography professionally the year I became a mother. My first daughter was born in the spring of 2018 and that summer, I quit my job as a college and career counselor to be a stay-at-home mom.

That year, as a mom to an infant, I had little to no time for myself. I poured everything into being a mom, a wife, and a pillar for my family. Time became a scarce resource, and with the limited amount that I had, it became clear what I wanted to do with it. I started offering free photography sessions to moms at a parent education program I attended with my daughter. I built a portfolio of family and baby photography, which led me to my first paid family photography gig: a newborn session that I charged $50 for. Fast forward nearly two years, I am now serving families in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside County.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The postpartum period and settling into my new identity as a mom was difficult for me. I was the first of my close friends and family to get married and also the first to have a baby. So being in that space of transition, with no one close to me who could relate, was very isolating. I felt alone and misunderstood, even with a very supportive and loving husband. The first thing that got me through that time was the person that started it all: my daughter. Even though it wasn’t a smooth road, she made everything worth it. The second thing that helped me was photography. During a year of drastic change and a huge identity shift, photography brought me peace, joy, and alignment with myself.  Photos of my babies and photos of me with my babies made me happy and reminded me of the goodness and beauty of life amidst hardship. I became motivated to remind other moms of that. To capture mothers with their families in a way that reminds them that they are strong, powerful, and beautiful women with the best, albeit the hardest job in the world.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a family photographer specializing in photography of newborns, babies, expecting mothers, and families with young children.  I’m most proud of my work photographing newborns because photographing this group is most aligned with my “Why” and because photographing newborns requires more patience, skill, and time than any other group I work with. Taking pictures of newborns is also very dear to me because as a mother of two, I’ve experienced how quickly the newborn period comes and goes.  It’s fleeting and the most precious stage.

In general, I love documenting the stories of families. I love working with moms to capture the moments and people in their lives who are most precious to them. From photographing an expecting mom to then seeing her cuddling her newborn baby, and then a year or two later running around with that little baby as I capture new portraits of their family. It’s the biggest honor to walk alongside these growing families and for them to trust me to capture snippets of their love in a way that feels true to who they are.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Portraits of me: Diana Lake

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