Photography

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.

"The Paper" Article by Brea Persing

ON THE JOB  — Brea Persing, Goshen, stands on the sand dunes of Morocco zooming in on a string of camels in the distance. Persing is a photographer who partners with nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs to raise awareness for their cause. She also works with businesses in the travel and hospitality industry and teams up with individuals who want a vacation photographer. (Photo Provided)

ON THE JOB — Brea Persing, Goshen, stands on the sand dunes of Morocco zooming in on a string of camels in the distance. Persing is a photographer who partners with nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs to raise awareness for their cause. She also works with businesses in the travel and hospitality industry and teams up with individuals who want a vacation photographer. (Photo Provided)

Article originally published on February 20, 2019 by “The-Papers” of Milford, Indiana and written by Laurie Lechlitner.

Photographer tells people's stories around the globe

    “I love observing other cultures,” stated Brea Persing, Goshen. “I enjoy sharing people’s stories across the globe. And I want to continue to use my photography skills to raise awareness . . . to make a difference around the world.”

    Persing has been a photography buff since she was a child. “I started taking photos on my parents’ film camera. My first digital camera was a little Canon PowerShot. I’ve always tried to capture the beauty around me. I love taking candid shots of people. I enjoy capturing colors and textures like old, rustic barns. And I really like taking closeups and showing the uniqueness I see everywhere.”

    Living overseas for the past 6 ½ years, Persing was a photojournalist and graphic designer. “I worked for a nonprofit organization for ten years and really enjoyed it.” She’s lived in Italy, Spain and West Asia.

    Whether she’s photographing a line of camels traveling through the sand dunes in Morocco or shooting in the city of Taipei, Taiwan, she wants to tell a story. “Actually, photographing people in Morocco was probably my most challenging assignment. Many people do not like to have their picture taken. I learned early that a photographer traveling in another country needs to understand and respect the culture and the wishes of the locals. Sometimes, just simply asking the person if you can photograph them, while smiling, is all that is needed. But if they say no, you need to respect their decision.”

    Her favorite residence was Verona, Italy. “I lived close to the downtown area. The city was very beautiful. I frequented the city shops and made very good friends there.”

    Another place she loved was Spain. “In the town of Málaga, I had a great view of the mountains right outside my window. I enjoyed walking around downtown, hanging out with friends at the port and buying fresh meat, fish and produce at the most amazing food market in town.”

    Now that Persing is back in Goshen, she longs to continue to travel with her camera. Though she no longer works for one nonprofit exclusively, her focus hasn’t changed much, “I partner with nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs worldwide to help them share their stories and raise awareness for their cause.”

    She doesn’t just stick with travel photography for nonprofits though. She also works with for-profit businesses in the travel and hospitality industry. And even more fun, she is a personal vacation photographer. “It’s a photographer that goes on vacation with you and your loved ones so you can enjoy all of the moments and memories you’re making without having to worry about capturing them yourself, or editing any of the photos afterwards!”

    With a smile, she remarked, “I see myself as adventurous and a risk taker. Traveling around the world, especially to a few places I’ve been, is not for the faint of heart. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    Besides photographing her parents’ dogs, her hobbies include rock climbing, hiking, scuba diving and eating tacos. “I love trying new things and seeing new places.” While relaxing, she enjoys watching movies, playing cards, and hanging out with friends.

    “Every person and place has a story. And I enjoy capturing them.” Check out her Instagram: @photos.by.brea and website: www.breapersing.com.


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REVISION TO ORIGINAL POST: This was not a part of the original article, but I was so excited to see the article in print, I thought I would add the photo of me with the ink on paper here! :)