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Fierce Creativity Turns Photography Business On Its Head

Beth Sanders
Beth Sanders
Beth Sanders

Beth Sanders is the owner of Beth Photography which she runs from her home in Louisville. An entrepreneur with incredible drive, Sanders combines her sharp business sense with an almost other-worldly artistry. This trajectory of skills produces photographs that radiate a polished, distinct, and incandescent professionalism. Browsing through her website, one is struck by how many ordinary events Sanders can capture and transform into works of art. Weddings, graduations, engagements, corporate functions, family and individual portraits, even objects, are captured through Sanders’ lens with painstaking attention to originality.

Sanders has a refreshing straight-forward demeanor and doesn’t mince words. “I attended Santa Monica Community College in Santa Monica, California,” she relates. “I never finished my degree, but I studied art and photography. I came into photography in a strange way. I had a boyfriend, and he saw a camera in a pawn shop. He said I should buy. I did. I then started taking classes at the college and fell madly in love with photography. And, as it turns out, I was really into it as a kid. I found a bunch of photos that I had taken when I was around 10 and I had made all my friends dress up and pose for me.”

Listening to Sanders expain the motivation behind her photography, all the little, incredible idiosyncrasies in her work make perfect sense. “Everything [motivates me]," she states. “I am constantly in awe of the beauty in all things. I am really moved by nature, people, and their lives. I think everything is interesting and in that regard, I am drawn to photograph it. I offer all types of photography services, but have been mostly shooting wedding and portraiture type stuff.”

We are all lucky that Sanders' imaginative personality is reaching out to broader topics. “I am now wanting to be more of a documentary-type photographer and am interested in more humanitarian-oriented work,” she says. “I am also producing lots of personal work. Check out my blog. I have been doing photography for 27 years now. Wow.”

Check out her blog, indeed. Sanders’ blog might raise a few eyebrows with its “take all risks” ferocity. Her provocative photographs are accompanied by equally provocative, strongly-worded observations: “So on one of my runs, these ideas started popping into my head,” she writes. “Modern day Eve. Why was she made from the rib of a man?” What follows is a fun, yet thought-provoking peek inside the mind that created the photographs of Sanders’ “modern” Eve. And this Eve is eating Adam’s rib under scathingly, bright lighting that demands the viewer’s attention. But never fear, under all that intensity, Sanders’ quirky sense of humor is never far from hand. She’s expert at tricking the viewer into entering her sequential photo-story with eyes wide open, only to quickly turn the table, which that in itself is an amusing device, at least to this reviewer. Simply summed up: don’t expect conventionality on a Sanders’ shoot.

However unconventional her work, Sanders is pretty down to earth when it comes to the everyday, albeit with a few “zings” thrown in for good measure. She’s married and has two children. “I am lucky I was able to work from home,” she admits. “[This decision] was never too much of an issue. I do struggle to stop working when the kids are around and do still feel put upon to be the wife who cooks and cleans and still trys to run a business. It pisses me off sometimes.”

The last question to ask Sanders about how her work differs from other “event photographers” seems a moot point, but she responds anyway with trademark transparency, “I’m not sure what makes me stand out in this business, to be truthful. I only shoot what comes into my head to do. I feel compelled by what is going on inside and outside of me. I am quite insecure about my work, so I don’t know what defines me in that regard. I feel like my work is so personal. It all comes from within and therefore is such a part of me. It’s hard to put it out there to be judged by other peoples’ thoughts and opinions. The response to my work seems really good.”

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