COCO Profile: Abby Mortenson of Love Roots Photography

Words: Meagan Thomas

Photos: Tanya Martineau

Abby is a photographer for Colorado Collective and a talented one at that. Her photos for the publication capture the beauty of the story, as well as her talent behind the lens.

Where are you from and how did you end up in Colorado Springs?

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio with my parents and my brother. I lived there my whole life until I left for Hillsdale College in Michigan. After college I worked in Baltimore for three years and that's where I met my husband, Dan. We ended up moving to Colorado Springs in 2006 to work for a group home for troubled teens called the Dale House Project. We've been here ever since.

Where does your passion for photography stem from?

My dad was into photography and had some film cameras and I started taking photographs in middle schoo.. I've always loved being creative and I love capturing moments. The photographs help me remember things - moments, people, places, experiences. As I shared in my blog once, "Literally, when we see a photograph it can take us back in time to that moment. It can evoke a feeling like freedom, hope, longing. It can stir up memories of a person dear to our hearts that may no longer be with us. The interesting thing is that the very act of photographing someone can be a channel for maybe helping them remember who they themselves are, too.” Being a photographer has also been a key part of connecting with God and others for me. There's a quote by Dorthea Lange that I love: “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”  I share a lot on instagram, and I think a big part of my journey as a photographer has helped me see the world in new ways - to see beauty and light and the amazing things in our world that we may otherwise not notice.

How did you start Love Roots Photography?

I ended up accidentally starting a business about four years ago.  I was in graduate school getting my masters in social work and working full-time at a local non-profit that serves domestic violence survivors. I think what happened was a lot of my friends started having kids and asked me to do some family photos for them. After awhile, other people saw those photos and wanted me to take theirs as well. It sort of became this bigger thing and I ended up realizing that I either needed to stop doing photos for people (for free!) or make a business out of it. After lots of discussion with my husband and a few friends/mentors, I ended up quitting my full-time job and launching Love Roots Photography. We actually lived in our friend's RV in their backyard for a few months while I got my business off the ground.

What’s been the best part of being a photographer so far?

One part is that I see differently now. I'm always on the lookout for beauty. I also love when I can capture a person's true spirit. One of the words I use most to describe my photographic style is authenticity. It's one of my biggest values in life and in my work as well. I don't like to pose people as much. I like to find the spark and beauty of that person's soul and try and capture that in an image. It's always a huge blessing when people see an image and say, "that captures who I am." I love when it's more than just a pretty picture, but when it reveals a glimpse into the heart.

When did photography become full-time?

Since starting my business, I've pretty much always had other jobs while keeping my business going. Because of my social work background and my heart for people and healing, I've mostly worked in non-profits or therapeutic settings. Currently I am working as a contract therapist for the Division of Youth Corrections and I get to teach yoga to kids in jail. It's so rewarding.

What would you do if you weren’t a photographer?

I'm a dreamer and always have lots of things I want to do. I'm the sort of person that would have fifteen different jobs if I could actually sustain it. One of my dreams is to be an Art Therapist.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I always joke that the only thing I do on a consistent/daily basis is drink coffee. I am resistant to anything regarding a schedule so I struggle to have any type of routine. This summer my schedule is looking like yoga therapy on Mondays and Tuesdays, photoshoots will be weeknights and weekends and the days get filled up with paperwork, meeting people, editing, making art and whatever else I find myself doing.

What’s the best part of your day?

Hmm...depends on the day! I love coffee in the mornings and having dinner with my husband.

 

Abby has a wonderful spirit and a knack for finding the beauty in everything. For more information or to book her for photos, visit her website, http://loverootsphotography.com