While we grew up on the opposite sides of the world, Jim and I have both enjoyed a healthy appreciation for the ocean since the very beginning.
Jim moved around the east coast a bit as a kid, but says that his favorite week, every year, was “beach week”. His family of 5 (3 boys!) would pack their car and drive to North Carolina, where they would spend seven days jumping through white wash, swimming with wild Bottlenose Dolphins and covering themselves head to toe in the fine dusty sand that adored the shoreline of Sunset Beach.
I grew up mostly on Oahu. Our family was transferred from Hilton Head Island in 2002 when my dad’s job relocated us to the new KoOlina Vacation Club. I spent my pre and early teens playing soccer and surfing, but discovered free diving at the age of fifteen and soon delved into the world of underwater photography after a friend had let me experiment with her dslr/housing setup.
Both Jim and I worked miscellaneous jobs over the years as we developed our individual styles in underwater photography. He was a dive instructor and a marine biologist working for the Cousteaus, I was a naturalist on a snorkel tour and was hired as an individual contractor surf/fashion underwater gigs. It wasn’t until we combined forces, and founded our company, that things really came together for us. Once underwater photography was our sole source of income and playing our bills exclusively, that was when we awarded ourselves the title of “professional photographers”.
For those of you who ask, “How did you get your job?” Our answer is that we found our passion, we created goals for ourselves, and we set out to do them. We did everything by the book: we are a licensed LLC, we pay taxes, we have insurance and we work hard. We have our high highs and some pretty lame lows, but we follow our internal compasses that guide us along our path and we support each other every step of the way! I can’t imagine doing this without Jim, he’s my safety diver, my swimming buddy, my best friend, my business partner and my glass-half-full guy! We are a team that perseveres through it all, and that is how we “got the job” and keep it!