Do you remember in high school how your teachers would ask you to complete an essay describing the person you admire most and why?  Well, for me, that person was almost always my father.  At an early age he taught me the ways of the world when it came to relationships, both personal and in business; especially business.  Having learned the lessons of Dale Carnegie, he was a master of networking, sales and negotiation.  His career in the auto industry (engineering/marketing/sales) spanned 45 years, so I guess he had a lot to share!  We’ve had lengthy conversations about employee relations, great company culture and how sad it is when a company fails to exhibit or acknowledge it’s most important asset-it’s people.  As a Manager I’ve always tried to do my best to take care of my hard-working people.  Midway into my sophmore year of college, I made the decision to switch from Graphic arts/photography to Retail Management/Fashion merchandising.   I’m not sure my father was thrilled, since he didn’t think of retail as a “real” career; many people didn’t back then.  However, he always supported me no matter what, and I had been working in retail since the age of 16, became a Manager at 18, and I was determined to advance to higher levels and prove to him that he taught me well…  Fast-forward to 2011 and you would find me to be the HR Manager/Assistant General Manager/Operations Manager of the Parisian Department Store at Laurel Park Mall, where I had been working for 13 years.  Prior to that spanned a career that lasted 29.5 years with multiple titles including District Manager, Regional Training Manager, General Manager and Store Manager.  I LOVED my time with Parisian and Saks Fifth Avenue (HR with both-same umbrella), until the Parisian was sold to another company in 2006.  Unfortunately, things went rapidly downhill from there.  So, I walked away from that job and made a life-changing decision to start my business, which I had been dreaming of for several years.  Everything happens for a reason, right?!  One of the other (most important) things my father always taught me was to “DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY because you only go around once”.  So, here I am.  Is it easy?  (Starting up a new business)  No.   When I am shooting, I am IN HEAVEN!  When I am editing the images from a session I just completed I am like a kid in a candy store and I can’t get enough!  I LOVE to capture people’s smiles, emotions, giggles and true personalities.  It makes my day!  I love it when people thank me and tell me how much they love their final images and how they can’t wait to do it again.   As life progresses I think we all start to feel that it is short, precious and priceless.  You need to savor the moment and make decisions that are right for you.  I recently had the opportunity to photograph my father.  I was so nervous!  Here stood a man who represents the ultimate role model for me, in so many ways, and I wanted the end result to really represent the way I “see” him; Funny, outgoing, loving, genuine, intelligent, sophisticated, knowledgeable and talented.  Happy to report, it does.  He’s a wonderful man and I’m so happy to call him my father.



8 thoughts on “My hero | Southeast Michigan portrait photographer”

  1. He will have tears streaming down his face when he reads this, Sue. You are absolutely right–he’s one in a million, and he is so proud of you. Thank you for saluting him. You have all his good traits, and we are thrilled that you have become such an awesome photographer, following your dream!

  2. Susan, such a lovely tribute and wonderful portrait! Enjoyed reading about your journey and your father’s influence. In other news, I see some comments here from a couple former Novi High School teachers? Small world, I was class of ’96 there –I didn’t have Mrs. Moulin or Mr. Legg but many of my friends did 🙂

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