Pacific Northwest Photographer |


Encouraging others and exploring oneself

Guest Feature: Clare Cassidy

It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve been doing this, every single time, I get nervous. Needlessly so. Be it a wedding, a newborn or a simple portrait gig, my anxiety skyrockets. However, as soon as I start with my trusty Nikon D750 camera, I’m at my calmest. For me, being behind the camera is like being a fly on the wall with complete access to moments. 

I am profoundly Deaf and communicate using American Sign Language. More than 85% of my clients are hearing and nonsigners. It can be challenging at times, but I’ve noticed that my deafness is actually a gain for my clients and myself.  When it comes to photographing, I always try to find a story in a shot. Photos don’t “talk” like hearing people do with spoken language, for me, photos are full of visual language. That alone, is where I already am at an advantage. I am more attuned to body languages and not distracted by “words.”  Hence, this gives my photos a distinction of being a storyteller.

When I am in the middle of photographing, I always am looking through the lens, even if the clients are getting ready. I love those moments when little kids are patiently waiting as their moms/dads fix their hair or adjust some clothing apparels. The children usually are so keenly aware of my presence that they would watch me carefully as they are doted upon. I have a collection of those moments where they eye me with their observant minds and their parents are unaware of such an intense moment. I live for those shots.

I cannot imagine not being a photographer, I am so addicted to the process of it all: the anxiety, working with nonsigners and being on my toes through every session. Nothing beats the moment when I sit in front of my computer and edit through using Lightroom. Every single time, when I am done with a session, I have a soft smile plastered across my face and sigh a heart happy sigh. 

-Clare Cassidy

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Sami Costelow