Ruth Macris is a native of New Orleans. Her marketing career has taken her to Washington, D.C. and now Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is a wife and mother of three teenager's first and foremost. But photography has been a lifetime love for Ruth. As a child she would consume much of her time just looking at photos. She could get lost for hours in the detail of the very moment that lay in a permanent frame for her to see. She got her first camera at the age of twelve. She said it was a polaroid instant camera from her parent's one Christmas in which she immediately fell in love with.
Her love continued throughout her childhood. She then took her first photography class in college and the entire process was mesmerizing for Ruth. From finding the most perfect picture to then developing the film and watching it come to life was pure excitement for her.
She graduated college with a degree in marketing, public relations and advertising. When asked why Ruth chose to go into marketing as opposed to photography she answered, "I was extremely shy. I had always been a shy child. I enjoyed the graphics in marketing. It never even occured to me to major in photography. I was trying to be practical in what I could find job wise in the work field after I graduated. So I went into marketing and being a shy child this was perfect for me because I was forced to go out and talk to people. It helped to bring me out of my own shell." Through this outlet she was able to see the power and influence photography had in many different markets.
After college, Ruth moved to Washington D.C. to pursue her marketing profession, yet she continued to take classes in photography just for the sheer joy of it. It was during the photo shoots for advertisements that Ruth began to revisit her passion in photography. "I would watch the photographer during the shoots and would want to be in their place and would just watch them and think wow, I would love to do that. But the problem was, deep down I thought I couldn't do it. Even though my mother told me this is what I was supposed to be doing, I didn't think I could do it. It was when I had my own children and would send pictures to family and do my friend's family Christmas photos that my mom kept saying to me why aren't you doing this? That was when I realized I didn't just love what I was doing, I was good at what I was doing."
After hurricane Katrina many of Ruth's family photos from her childhood were destroyed. "This was devastating for me because pictures are so precious and we lost most of my childhood pictures in the storm." Ruth stated. "We have boxes and boxes of pictures in my own home because after losing so many of my own childhood pictures I am terrified of that happening to us. So I keep them all." Ruth has found her joy in taking pictures of families and individuals for keep sakes and memories because she understands the preciousness that each photo brings to a family's album of memories.
"I love taking pictures of people. It is not only capturing the moment and seeing their joy, it is seeing their reaction when they see the pictures. It is not only the taking of it, it is also the giving of the photos because it brings me joy." says Ruth. "I love talking to the individuals, editing and capturing their personalities in the pictures."
Through the years Ruth's mom continued to ask her why she wasn't doing photography for a business. Then life happened in a string of events that Ruth could have never seen coming. "My mom got cancer and had complications through her cancer treatment and was in the hospital for ten weeks and then hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed my parent's house. Both of my parent's came and moved with me and then my dad died suddenly. My mom lived with us for the next year. During that time my mom's cancer came back and she then died. My parent's were very young, they were only 65 when they passed. They were always my biggest cheerleaders. My parent's were just the kindest most gentle souls."
Through her personal tragedies, Ruth found a light. One of her close friend's had a baby and Ruth asked if she could take baby pictures for her. Her friend agreed and after that photo session word of mouth of her photography started to spread. Ruth was being asked by friends and family to take family photos. "This was great but I wanted to do the pictures for free and no one would let me do that. So they would pay me with gift cards and other things. I just felt funny asking for money because I love taking pictures and that's just what I want to be doing. It is my joy not my job. That is why my prices are much lower than other photographers because I just want to be able to take people's pictures and see the joy the pictures bring to them."
Over the last year Ruth's photography has gained in popularity. She created her own website in order to have her work on display to share with everyone. "As I was submitting my website, I could feel my mom and dad cheering me on. It was a really special moment for me. I am so happy I get to share my joy through photography. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do."
Since your joy isn't your job, what advice do you have for someone who is not looking for a career change but feels as though there could be more to their life?
"You have to find your joy. What is it that makes you excited in life? What makes you happy? Find what that is and do it. You don't have to be the best at it and you don't have to do it as a day job. All you have to do is find what brings joy to your life and find some way to do it. Don't spend time just thinking about doing it. I did that. I used to think yeah, I probably should be doing photography. I probably should be doing more with this and it wasn't until I finally did, that it all made sense to me. I find my joy within photography."
How as a mother do you communicate the importance to your children to find their own joy in life?
"They are teenagers so at this point I'm not sure if they hear anything I say (laughter). But I hope I have been an example to them of the importance of giving back to the world and being of service to others. I made sure they saw me volunteering at their schools, they have helped me get meals ready for the Hope House at Lutheran Hospital and things like that. I hope now in the last year of really doing my photography and them seeing how much joy that has brought me, they will see that is exactly what they need to do. Do I make a lot of money doing this, no. But I want them to see it is more important to be happy with what you are doing than how much money you are making. I'm not an extra special person. I'm just a mom who loves photos and who has been told she has some talent and is using it to make myself and other people happy."
Thank you so much Ruth for sharing your story with us. You are a true Spirit Launcher at heart. Thank you for following through with your love and sharing your joy of photography with the world. To see more of Ruth's beautiful photos go to http://macrisphotography.zenfolio.com/.
How can you find your joy today? How are you already living your joy in life? Share with us we would love to hear from you.
As always with love,
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