Simi Valley, CA

(805) 864-1504

About the Photographer

I began taking photography courses in high school, and in my senior year, I ended up winning a scholarship for my portfolio to Texas A&M at Commerce, the #1 art and photography school in Texas at that time.

I remember people asking me prior to that if I would be going to college for photography, since I had taken four years in high school and placed in various photo contests. I thought that was completely absurd -- what more could one possibly learn about photography that could justify four years of college??  Well, I soon found out...

The contest in which I won my scholarship was held during a day of touring the facilities and participating in various sessions held by photography professors and upper level students, teaching some of what their programs teach. It was then that my eyes were opened to the abundance of things to be learned about photography, which easily justified four years of college courses. I was exhilarated!

I attended TAMU-C with a major in Photography, and later assisted several photographers in the Dallas area, but life and poor decision-making got in the way before I stepped out on my own as a photographer. Next thing I knew, I was divorced with a new baby and pressured to earn a living for a family, which left no room to step out into the risky world of freelance photography.

Fast-forward several years and I found my experience and skills being utilized. I worked at a big-time Houston ad agency, and when they discovered my photography experience, they used me for their own website and for some of their clients. After leaving the ad agency, I was hired on by one of those clients to be their in-house photographer. I began to remember a love I had formerly set down, and I began to try to save up to purchase my own Digital SLR camera.

It was around that time, however, that I gave my life to Christ. In doing so, I felt called to set down my gift in photography and pursue ministry. I became very involved in my church, started leading a number of different groups, and eventually procured a job at the church. Ministry does not pay much, however, and I was struggling to pay bills and make ends meet. When my income tax return came in the Spring of 2013, I had finally come to a place to use that money to buy my long-awaited Digital SLR camera, with a plan to do some photography on the side for extra money. I was also curious how God would use that gift in me, now that it was about Him, not about me. Before I was able to do anything, I lost my job at the church.

I prayed and prayed and prayed about where it was God was taking me. In the meantime, I rejoined the Photography team at the church to at least make the most of my new camera. I fell head over hills in love with my camera! I was giddy at the images I would capture! God began to tug on my heart about an idea years earlier to start a photography business. While I was still praying and working things out in my heart about it, He gave me a name for the business, a phone call asking if I would do the photography for a company's website, and the start-up capital to procure the necessary items to get things going. And so here we are :). This is my full-time job now; this is how I intend to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. [I still am involved in ministry, it just isn't what pays my bills anymore!]

I am in love with creation: from all of the universe to all of the people within it. While paintings are amazingly beautiful, none of them innovate on the level that God has with the colors and textures and lines that He has put together, they all only try to emulate. My goal is to capture those things with photographs. I aim at the emotions within a person, their true personalities, the features that make them unique and beautiful, and the stories behind the people. And I especially love if I get to shoot them against the green grass, a beautiful array of trees, a park in the background, a gorgeous sky, or something with a color palette that compliments the image appropriately.

I am not okay with a fake, empty smile. We will not have a stiff, formal, portrait shoot. I do not want people nervous or up-tight and stressed-out. I will not stop shooting until I have helped you to relax and become natural. And I hope you have fun!  Growing up, it was hard to get a good photo of me; I virtually never came out looking good in those school pictures where you had 10 seconds to smile and then click!  I think not being captured well in photographs added to my lack of a positive self-image. I want my photography to show people how beautiful they really are. I want to capture real moments. When displayed in your home, I want these images to be happy reminders that give you a boost every time you see them!

I create art in whatever it is I may be shooting, down to the very simplest of shots.

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things. Impression is not enough. Design, style, technique, - these, too, are not enough. Art must reach further than impression or self-revelation. Art, said Alfred Stieglitz, is the affirmation of life. And life, or its eternal evidence is everywhere. Some photographers take reality as the sculptors take wood and stone and upon it impose the dominations of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and elevation. A true photograph need not be explained, nor can be contained in words. - Ansel Adams, Photographers on Photography : A Critical Anthology by Nathan Lyons (Editor) , Page: 32

About the Company

I spent about two years looking for the right name for a photography company. It was important to me that it was about God, not about me, so while typically photographers name the company after themselves (and I am not against that at all!), I needed to not do that personally. Everything clever that I came up with was however already taken. Then one day, I stumbled upon these passages:

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. (Exodus 31:1-5, ESV)

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer. (Exodus 35:30-35, ESV)

And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. (Exodus 36:2, ESV)

I knew this was it! I started researching the name Bezalel and only found more and more confirmation that it was the right name for my photography company. When working on creating the logo, I made the choice to change the spelling to "Betzalel" due to the true pronunciation and history of the name that I discovered while researching the original Hebrew, which means, "In the shadow of God".

For me, the name serves as a constant reminder to let God work through me, instead of trying to produce anything on my own. When I look back at my photographs from many years ago, I can see that I have some great work, but there always seem to be something missing from each piece. In Christ, I feel like my work is complete, something I was never able to do on my own.

Whether you believe in God or not, my hope is that you see the world differently through my photographs. If you are an atheist or follow a different religion, I hope that you at least can enjoy the story, and if you can get past what you know my foundation to be, I would still be honored to be your photographer.

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