About Stephanie

My Photographic Journey (and then some)

It’s funny how I became a photographer. There were two defining forces.

My 7th grade science teacher (Mr. Paul Kelly) and my super overprotective, off the boat, (Gino) Italian, Catholic (Theresa) parents. Mr. Kelly started a photography club. Three weeks into it all the kids found new things to pursue and I was the only one left still struggling and determined to learn how to expose film. Mr. Kelly didn’t give up on me. He taught me things that still resonate in my every day practice of this craft.

While I was loving and learning photography, I was simultaneously doing the Pretty in Pink thing (inspired by Nana who ran a tailoring business out of our house) making my own clothes and dresses. My junior high and high school years were split between the darkroom and home economics. Great side note. My home economics teacher, Miss Duggan who taught me all the tricks of a Singer, married Mr. Kelly! Those young days were full of great daydreams of what kind of artist I would be and how successful I could become.

When it came time to meet with the guidance counselor in senior year about what path I would take, I told her my two passions. She told me that fashion design was best studied in NY. “Oh, Papa would never allow that!” I explained. I remember what a battle it was to make sure my sister Lisa could in fact attend RISD (once we learned she was accepted) in quaint Providence, RI, just a 58 minute drive from Hingham.  “Well, there is a photography school right here in Boston” she replied. Done! Perfect! New England School of Photography (and my first time on the T at age 17!) here I come!

Since then there was the 2 Year Program at NESOP, working as a full time assistant in commercial studios in Boston, building a children’s portrait business offering hand printed and hand colored black and white prints,(I miss my darkroom!) and working for a handful of dance school and school portrait studios. I was slowly learning I don’t work well for others. Whether it was the particular time in my life or just who I am, it just didn’t suit me. Ok, it’s who I am!  Anyway, I took what I learned and moved forward.

I photographed 12 preschools over the years in the South Shore area, and still to this day, I love photographing those awesome 4 year olds! There were months in Milan, traveling in Europe and working with my internationally known photographer cousin Joe Oppedisano. It was a quick learn that travel photography was not for me. I needed more than 4 hours of sleep a night. I liked hotel rooms with heat and a private bathroom. I also don’t do well when planes descend! Though the experience is one I would not trade for anything.

By the time I was 30, I was married to the best guy alive, Todd. I call him my Renaissance Man. Artist, designer, builder, romantic, lego master, limoncello maker, inventor, knows all the stuff I don’t know (which sometimes can be really annoying) and teaches me with great patience the stuff I need to know! Being married gave me the luxury of being able to make choices. I had decided my assisting days were over. Though it was fun to be with creative people and the pay was great, It was hard being a young woman in that shiny industry. After years of being hired to just shoot polaroids and make client lunches, and being blamed for mishaps the photographer was responsible for, I had enough. Again, I took what I had learned and directed my efforts towards a wedding photography business and my children’s portraits.

28 years later, one miracle baby (Natalie, now 7) and a small flock of chickens, I now own a successful full time photography studio. It has brought me more joys, friends, beautiful people and life lessons to me that I never could have imagined. Not only has it supported my family but it has taught me with this craft I can learn so much about human nature. I have made people cry from joy, laugh with excitement, be grateful for what I have and even better, heal them (as well as myself) with images I have taken for them.

This dream has far exceeded my expectations back when it was just that. A day dream, a hope and a wish in 1984.