Hey there. I’m Michelle,also known as Mom, Mama, Mommy (when they want something). After 46 years (how the hell did that happen) I have 4 kids under the age of 10 (I mostly know how that happened). I live in NJ with my 4 kids, husband, dog, deer, coyotes, mice, raccoons, turkeys and on special occasions a flying squirrel will join the family.
I grew up in a small town in upstate NY called New Hartford..Utica…Syracuse..a place where the snow just doesn’t stop. My school field trips were at the famous Matt’s Brewery.I spent countless hours building forts in the ravine, which was my backyard and spent my summers jumping off cliffs into lakes(wearing a Wonder Woman bathing suit, thinking I was so cool). It was a simple childhood for a complicated girl who couldn’t wait to go explore the world.
At 18 I said goodby to that chapter and let the exploring begin. I dabbled with college but after just spending the past 12 years sitting in a classroom feeling like I was in prison, I couldn’t take yet another year of four walls and a desk. I was NYC bound to learn about life, NO teachers, NO textbooks, NO homework, just pure raw life. (I probably could have used a few more spelling lessons, but lucky for me this little thing called spell check was invented. Although, even spell check can’t understand me at times). So I planted myself in Queens, NY, Forest Ave to be exact.
I slept on my brothers floor against his will for a couple of years. Poor Bro, he just graduated from college, got a great job in NYC and was starting to explore his own life. Then, knock..knock..knock, hey it’s me can I crash here for a bit and by the way my cheating boyfriend will also be crashing with me. Me and Bro didn’t really like each other much growing up and to this day it blows me away that he let me and the cheat stay with him, for 2 freaking years. I did eventually get rid of the cheat and me and Bro are the best of friends now. Now back to my exploring…
Being that I had no college degree, I was single, living on my own and broke as shit, waitressing and bartending became my two new best friends. I started downtown and worked my way uptown with some awsome adventures along the way. After realizing that I was the worst waitress ever and nearly cut my thub off because I got into a fight with the chef while I was cutting bread for table #11 with a super sharp knife…well table 11 never got their bread, I got my thub sewed up and my mother told me she signed me up to take a photography class at Parsons school of Design. Thanks Mom for changing my stars even though I drove you insane!!!
Wow, I loved taking pictures! I could explore the world and express it thru my eyes. This was the chapter that I was waiting for, the reason that I left home, my purpose in life, my future.
Being that I was such a shitty student and had no money, going to college was not an option, but I was so egar to learn more about my new found talent/obsession. Using the good old fashion yellow pages, I found this little school called Germain School Of Photography. It was a 2 year program that ROCKED. I didn’t dare ask my parents for money, so I applyed for my 1st student loan and low and behold, I got the loan. I think my father was so proud that the bank actually gave me a loan, that he started giving me $100 a month to help with my rent and food. And till this day, everytime I see my dad, he goes into his tin cookie jar and gives me that $100,even when I drive him insane.
I took pictures, lots of pictures, I went back to waitressing because taking pictures didnt pay for life. I worked in a mall taking pictures of kids(in NJ no less),I assisated wedding photographers, I took pictures for resturants, I took pictures of everything and kept getting fired at my waitressing jobs, so I kept taking pictures. I would go to clubs to try to find my dream guy, always left empty handed, so I took more pictures. I spent my days with my hands sumerged in chemicals, developing my pictures while smoking butts(now, I help people get rid of chemicals in their personal care products, go figure).
I answered an add in the paper for a darkroom assitiant at a hospital and hour away from the city, in the Bronx .The job was for 2 days a week and paid like shit and no one wanted it,but I happily took the shit job.I would sit on the D train everyday for 2 hours a day thru rain and shine and the blizzared of ’99. That shit job turned into a 25 year career as a medical photograper. I took pictures of eyes, the front of eyes, the insides of eyes, the back of eyes. I photographed babies brains that were sick and spent many days in the operiating room photographing surgies. I even went back to school and became an ophlamic assistanit while working at the hospital. that shit job, led to me Bejing China to be chief photographer for Orbis, a flying eye hosptal, that teaches 3rd world countries modern medicine. I waked the great wall of China and on that walk realized that I wanted to travel the world.I went to greece… I’ll leave the…up to you. I jumped out of airplanes to overcome my fear of heights, yeah well, I’ll keep that fear, traveled some more and just kept taking pictures.
After 20 years I left the hospital in the Bronx and took a fancy job in NYC, still taking pictures of eyes, but fancy eyes. My love for the ocean drew me into a scuba shop across the street from my job. I spent what little money I had on scuba stuff, lessons and trips to Mexico.
OMG(before OMG existed), I want to leave NYC and become a underwater photographer/scuba intructor in some cool island. I dove into waters where life below is a peaceful, magical place.I Worked on getting my deep water certifaction, and was on my way.
As, I sat in my office taking pictures of peoples eyes, I would dream of the day that my office would be 130 feet under water and my lunch break would be under a palm tree with sand running thru my toes.
I looked up from my desk at the next set of eyes to be photographed, those eyes were warm, kind, gentel, cute, funny and felt like home to me. Because of those eyes, that is how I became a MOMMY.