Through the Years

"Vibrant People of Elkhart County" Article by Brea Persing

I am honored and humbled to say that I was nominated and chosen to be one of Elkhart County’s Vibrant Women of Nappanee last week. On May 27, Memorial Day, an article was published about me through 365 Vibrant People of Elkhart County recognizing me, and my mom on May 23, as Vibrant Women doing good in the community. I am proud of my mother and all she has accomplished and I am proud to be following in her footsteps in being a hardworking and proud member of our community.

You can find the original article on Vibrant Communities.

Here is the article below, posted on May 27, 2019.

Brea Persing

For the past week, we have written about some of Nappanee’s Vibrant Women. We end our series with Brea Persing. Brea is a Vibrant Person who has lived in Europe and Asia. She has found herself back in Elkhart County.

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Brea Persing is home. For a while, at least. Nappanee is where she is from and where she is now, but for much of her adult life, Brea has been elsewhere.

After getting her degree in Visual Communication from the University of Indianapolis, Brea spent almost seven years based in Europe and Asia. She worked for a not-for-profit organization as a photographer and graphic designer. She would travel to places near and far to capture images that, not only told a story but made a visual impact.

Looking at Brea’s work you can see her interest in the details. Whether it is a field of lavender, a Moroccan woman in a kitchen, or the family’s Goldendoodle, Radar with a face full of snow, the images Brea produces will catch your eye and hold your attention. 

Brea also produces websites and hers is worth a visit. At breapersing.com, you will find photos and stories. Her blog is informative, often amusing and always readable. Brea is an adept storyteller. She can leave you satisfied or make you hungry to hear more.

Now that she is back in Elkhart County, Brea wants to use her talents to help other non-profit organizations tell their stories. She is offering her professional skills to help them create awareness and inspire people to support them. This August, Brea will be a featured speaker at a conference for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Brea has seen much of the world in her young life. There remain places to go and there are things she wants to someday do. Brea is also happy to be here, with her family, doing good work. We’re glad she is.

My First Love—Photography by Brea Persing

I started taking photos when I was a little girl. I can’t tell you how many disposable cameras I went through when I was younger…on vacation, a trip with church, school, camp, and so many more. When I was a bit older my parents entrusted me with their small point and shoot, though still a film camera, it was fun. At the time, I was still only focused on taking landscape pictures, some sunsets, and pictures of family and friends.

Then, around the time of middle and high school, my parents bought a nicer film camera, a Minolta Maxxum 650si. I was excited. I think I may have been more excited than them! I took a few photos with it, but as I went back through some albums, I noticed it was in 2001 that I started to do more artistic photography. I started focusing more on what I wanted to capture and what I was seeing in nature and with people.

In March I did a week long series on Instagram of my start and showing some of my “first” photos. I put first in quotations because they’re not really my first photos ever…I’d have to do some serious digging to find those. But they are the photos where I started to pay more attention and really try to get a good shot and be artistic. The photos have shown my progression from where I started to where I am now, but amazing to go back and see that I still love taking the same kind of photos that I do now—macros (closeups), nature, sunsets, all things rustic, landscapes, puppies and candids of people! Most of the photos below, unless otherwise specified, are from 2001. I also did not alter them in any way after scanning them in, except cropping them to the correct size.

I started it off with photos I took in 1999 from my first trip overseas. It was a family mission trip to Honduras to build houses for those still without from the major flooding that had happened. It was my first time overseas, being upgraded to first class, not being able to communicate what I wanted to say, mixing cement by hand and shovel, and seeing beautiful fish while snorkeling.

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From landscape I went to candid shots of people. In 2003 I had volunteered, with many others in the community, to build a new playground for a park in my hometown of Nappanee, Indiana in one week! It was quite the task. I helped build and I took photos of the build. The ones I’m showing are ones that I took of a family friend, Brandi, while she was painting.

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Then from candid shots of Brandi while volunteering, I went into another candid shot of my cousin. This is the same cousin who’s wedding I photographed in February of this year, 2019. This particular photo had three things in it that I loved…macros, puppies and candids of people! This had been a fun day with cousins who were in the US for the summer from being overseas. We were at my aunt’s house swimming and playing with their puppies. It was a great day. The next photo is not a candid of her, but one of my favorite photos I took at her and her husband on her wedding day in mid-February.

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From photos of my cousin, the then and now, I moved over to my love for nature. I love being out in nature and I love capturing it. Not just landscapes, which I do like, but macros—flowers, the wind swaying through a field of grass, insects, spider webs, and so much more.

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Then I went into the cutest of them all, puppies! Who doesn’t like puppies! They’re so cute. These are my aunt’s puppies, and taken the same day as the photo above with my cousin. I also grew up with beagles around, so I have TONS of photos of cute little beagle puppies.

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Then I finished out the week with sunsets and all things rustic. With sunsets, no two are the same. They are beautiful, they bring peace to the soul, and are a great ending to each day. I also love sunrises, but I’m not always up in time to see them. There’s nothing like an Indiana sunrise though! And I really like rust. Rust is an interesting creature and gives great texture. Except on my car, I do not like rust on my car. :) Even barns though, I love the look of old barns, abandoned houses and such. I see one and I want to take a photo of it and turn it into black and white so you can see the depth, the texture and the uniqueness of it.

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That is it—that is the beginning of my photography journey. If you have seen my albums and followed me on Instagram for a while, you would know that I still take the same type of photos, though I have better equipment now, and using digital instead of film (the above photos were film!), and my technique has improved a lot. 

It’s always good to go back to the beginning though, to remember where you started and how far you have come, and to remember what your first loves were. I have come a long way, but I haven’t swayed too far from what my first loves in photography were, which is refreshing and encouraging.