We had the good fortune of connecting with Christa Norman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I didn’t realize I was starting one. Ever since I was 17 all I wanted to do was be a photographer. All along the way, even throughout my fine art program, no one mentioned even one time that if I wanted to be a photographer there was a very high likelihood that I would also be running a business. After graduating, and a year into full-time wedding photography, the realization dawned on me – I was running a business?! Then I quickly learned everything and anything I could about it. I read a ton of books, took many courses, and sought out mentorship. I enjoyed business but it took me four more years to realize I didn’t enjoy running a wedding photography business. I loved the photography part, but the wedding industry requires a kind of lifestyle that I didn’t want to live.
Another huge insight no one ever told me, is that the industry you are a part of largely dictates the lifestyle you will live. Before becoming a wedding photographer, I didn’t ask myself how I wanted my life to feel. I just thought, well I want to be a photographer, and I love people and weddings so wedding photography must be a good fit.
It took me five years to realize it was not a good fit. It was hard to admit it to myself. But once I did I was able to ask myself a very important question: how do I want to live my life?
I want to live a slow thoughtful life. One where I get to be outside and not chained to my desk. One where I get to create every day. One where I get to do life with my family and don’t have to miss out on birthdays, and baby showers, and spontaneous get-togethers.
Then I created a business that supported this.
Now I work as a fine artist using an alternative photography process called Cyanotype. It not only supports my desired lifestyle but has allowed me to flourish as a human and business owner.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a fine artist using cyanotype to explore seasons of the human experience. My artwork invites people to slow down savor the beautiful and to remember their humanness. It has been quite a winding journey for me and it hasn’t been easy. It took five years as a wedding photographer, a 7 month sabbatical in Japan, and the limitations of the pandemic to get me here. I’ve come to learn that failure is actually an incredibly valuable gift. And that I can make beautiful work where I am right now and with what I have at my disposal.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shout out is to my husband who has always believed in me, my dear friend Jess Onesto of Cheers Babe Photo for the endless support and friendship, and to Emily Jeffords for helping me realize I chose the wrong career.