Feature Friday//Lori Mack Photography//28 July 2017

This evening we are getting to know Lori McCurdy of Lori Mack Photography! Her work is brilliant, I find it hard to believe she's only a year and half into photography! Truly inspiring! 

Please tell us about yourself…

Hi all! My name is Lori McCurdy of Lori Mack Photography. I have been married for 21 years to my high school sweetheart and we have 4 kids, all of whom are either tweens or teenagers. Being a mom has always been my life's first calling and passion and having older kids definitely keeps me busy! We recently moved from our home of 17 years in little ol' Bentonville, Arkansas to the large metropolis of Denver, CO! It's been quite the change as we are still adjusting to life in the big city but we love it! Being from Colorado myself, not only am I a mountain girl at heart but I am so excited about what lies in store for us here in this next chapter of our lives!

I am fairly new to the photography world! Actually if you had told me 2 years ago I would be sitting here writing this I would have laughed in your face! I've only been shooting for about a year 1/2 but ever since picking up my first little Canon Rebel that just happened to be my 15 year old son's, I haven't looked back. At the time I was going through a lot of personal struggles and photography became my life line to healing so to speak. It has opened my eyes to so much of who I am, and how to express my voice. I have practically thrown myself into it in every way, learning all I can, carrying my camera around everywhere (which may or may not include embarrassing my kids) and in return it has rewarded me with seeing life and its lessons in a whole new way. 

Most of my work is documenting our family's daily life (and a lot of my daughter who is a huge inspiration for much of what I shoot) but I also have done several documentary sessions for family and friends and am always on the lookout for new opportunities there! Black and white photography will always have my heart but I recognize life lives in color so I try to throw some of those in there too ;) Often, and just for me I will wander around alone, with just my camera and a 50 mm and work on free lensing macro photos of nature. I find it so calms and refreshes my soul when life gets so busy.

Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

Emotive, Deep, Authentic
I am naturally a very deep person, thinking and processing life and its ways almost always. Being an introvert, I think my work really reflects a lot of the depth I feel which I hope translates to others. So photography, as well as writing, has become my way of expressing those deeper feelings of how I see and think. I also value authentic connections and relationships in my personal life. Those who know me best would say I don't do surface well and I long to truly hear the deeper "how's" and "why's" of someone's heart. I think this is why I am so drawn to family documentary work as well! I love seeing the uninhibited, authentic connections and moments between family members. And because I started later in my life after my children were older, capturing other's family moments for them has been somewhat redeeming for me. I want them to see that even in the thick of daily life, the often seen as mundane, that this time is so fleeting, and that the true beauty they may not be able to see is right before their eyes!

What sparked your passion for photography?

Looking back over my life, I think I've always had a photographer's heart, I just didn't know it. Before I ever picked up a real camera, my mom reminds me that as a child I would sit and color contentedly for hours. In my years as a younger mom, I remember taking shots with a simple point and shoot or an iphone and words and feelings would begin pouring out of me from looking at the shots I would take of either my children or of nature. But honestly part of my struggle over the last many years has been believing, like so many of us do, that we simply are not good enough. I believed I had no artistic ability because those were reserved for true artists and painters. But it wasn't until I finally began uncovering lies about myself and believing that God created each of us with a creators heart after His own, that I began seeing myself differently. When I finally connected those dots my whole world opened up, and I knew this was what I was created to be. And I haven't stopped nor do I plan to!

What's in your camera bag right now?

Aside my Canon Mark iii, I carry very little. I'm a no nonsense kind of person and don't want to to be weighed down by extra gear so my Sigma Art 35mm is my go to lens, rarely even leaving my camera. I'm also learning to expand more artistically, so I often take my new Lensbaby Edge 50 with me or my tried and true Nifty Fifity for my freelensing and macro work. 

What is your dream shoot or project?

hat answer is two fold. My love for documentary work has opened my eyes to seeing life and family connections in new ways. It's on my bucket list to document a birth, travel over seas for a Day in the Life session or even travel abroad to document street in a foreign country. But while I would love to do all of that, recently my heart has become very drawn to those families who have struggled because of divorce or loss (or impending loss) of a loved one. Those who may not even see their family as "whole" or "not good enough" for a family session or even be able to afford a documentary family session at all. I would love to show them how beautiful and whole their life truly is and, if possible even in some small way, redeem some of the pain they have experienced by showing them beauty in the midst of struggle and loss. 

What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?

 I think the biggest misconception I had was that photography came natural for every photographer, like it was some sort of genetic ability and I missed out on it. While that may be true for some, I would say for most, it is not. It is a learned medium that takes a lot of practice and time (and tons of patience and grace!) for how to express your vision of seeing and feeling the world around you. I also used to think photography was just about taking pictures but man is it so much more! I'm not sure anything else has provided such an introspective journey for me about understanding who I am, what my voice is and how to confidently express it.

What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

Look but don't copy. Be inspired but try not to doubt.
In a nutshell, it's way, WAY too easy to fall into the trap of looking at others with the goal of being inspired (i've done it and inspiration is good!) but the it leads to comparing your work which leads to doubting yourself which leads to suppressed vision and voice (done that too and not so good!) Knowing my triggers (areas of vulnerability) and what leads to self doubt has been huge for me. Understanding who you are and how you are wired will help you put up safe guards around those tender heart places that lead to comparison. 
So if I could say anything, it would be this...your voice is beautiful and needs to be heard. How you see the world around you is like non other and this world needs to hear and see YOU! Your place in it will only be filled by you and someone out there needs to hear your message. Put it out there and leave it there. Share, but do it because it FILLS YOU! And remember this is a process, a journey filled with ups and downs and when the self doubt hits (because it will, just as it will for me again I'm sure) use it as a springboard to plow ahead. Recognize it's just your voice needing to expand and grow! And give yourself grace... lots and lots of grace.