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Life & Work with Tiffany Chi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Chi.

Hi Tiffany, 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?
Before I met Alex, my husband, and before I became a mother to my children, Aimee & Ellias, I had already done more than most could say they’ve done at 26 years old. I had gotten my BA degree at UCLA majoring in Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting and minoring in French Language and Culture. I had studied documentary analog film photography, art, and French language in Paris, became fluent in French so that I could pursue my dreams of one day living with my family in France. I had traveled the world straight out of college via The World Race: a year long Christian missions journey, partnering with nonprofit organizations on five different continents. I had lived in the south of Spain as part of a Christian Leadership Community for a brief time. I had applied and been accepted into a prestigious International Pastry School in Paris to pursue a career in pastry. I had then apprenticed at various bakeries and pastry shops in Paris to advance and master my craft.

No matter what exciting, outlandish, extraordinary plans I dreamed up and pursued in my life, it never seemed to live up to the insatiable hole in my heart for my life to mean something: to serve a purpose. I was never satisfied with myself, never good enough. I was lonely, depressed, and struggled with my mental health. Less than a year into my time abroad in Paris, on the fifth floor of Rue Saint Julien le Pauvre, in a small studio apartment just outside of Notre Dame Cathedral, I tried to take my own life.

It is with deep pain and vulnerability that I write this part of my story. I am convinced that for the rest of my life, I will look back on this day with an unspeakable shame and regret: a permanent stain on the fabric of my life story. A reminder that I had not been strong enough and that I had failed to fight in the face of a consumptive darkness.

It would be easy for me to simply erase this chapter from my life. A couple of clicks of my mouse and a push of the delete button. Trust me, it’s not a subject that comes up very often in cursory Meet & Greets, and my friends and family are more than happy to look the other way because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. I could show you only the highlights of my life, and let that be it.

But that wouldn’t be the truth, and it is my hope that in my vulnerability, I could bring light to someone else facing a similar darkness. My life now is proof that God can redeem even the darkest parts of your story and that his love is relentless through it all. It took everything I had to wake up each day after my suicide attempt. After feeling so much of everything, all of the time, I instead felt nothing: like I had little else to lose. God had graciously surrounded me with people (sometimes strangers) to love me back to life, but each day was a tentative, hesitant step towards choosing life over death.

A year later, after finally returning to a semblance of my old self, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. I had moved back to California and was a hundred thousand miles away from the baby’s father, who was still in France. I felt my life, so tenuously held together, fall apart again.

On August 31, 2015, my daughter was born. At my side was my husband Alex, who had traveled a hundred thousand miles, leaving his family, friends, and everything he knew to be with us. We were married in front of family and friends on July 1, 2016, with our daughter as our flower girl.

We named her “Aimee”. It is the French word, “aimée” or “loved.” She will always be my living proof of God’s redemptive love. She is proof that God has not and will never forsake me because this is what He said to me when she was born:

“If you will not care for yourself, will you care for your daughter? and if you care for your daughter, can you not see that how you see her is how I see you?”

It is hard, now that I am a mother, to think about one day having to admit to my children the weakest moments of my life.

I want to be strong, fearless, and courageous in her eyes because I want them to become stronger, more fearless, and more courageous than I was. I want them to experience all the goodness that life has to offer. I want them to know that they are relentlessly loved. I want them to know that no matter what they do, that they are perfect in my eyes. I want them to know that what the world sees as weaknesses in their story, God can redeem as the most powerful hope-filled moments.

I want so much for them …

so much that I could not see for myself back then, and now I do.

These days, I have built my Photography business to center around the love, intimacy, and relationship between a mother, her children, and her family. I am fueled with the purpose of helping other women and mothers feel seen, known, and not as alone and invisible as I had felt when I was walking through the early years of my motherhood and the shifting of my identity. My desire is to use my creative gifting to truly “see” others and to authentically capture their lives so that they may know how good and significant and beautiful their lives are.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve detailed this in-depth in the first question. In short, it has not been a smooth road, but progress and growth is never smooth. It’s rocky and doubtful and full of struggle. The hardest thing to do is to continue to show up everyday.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a natural light motherhood photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, birth, fresh 48, baby, and family photography. My work is very different from other photographers because I have structured my process to be very relationship-based.

I believe that my photographs are more than just digital files or printed papers — They are living moments captured in time. They are your most intimate moments, shared with me.

For this reason, I build a relationship with every single one of my clients, and the moments I capture are the connections and relationships between my clients and their families. Rather than stiff and posed, they feel natural and authentic.

Instead of booking and meeting for the first time on the day of your session, I walk my clients through every step of the process and have personalized and curated touchpoints to make sure my clients and their stories are honored, as they deserve to be!

What was your favorite childhood memory?
One of my favorite childhood memories is falling asleep against my mother or father’s chest in their arms. I had a bit of an absent father and a mother who was often physically sick, so any time I had with them, just soaking up their presence, were some of my happiest, most content memories.


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