San Francisco, California
Finding herself out of work after the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000, Ann Hamilton decided she was going to become a professional photographer. "My only experience was with a disposable plastic camera," she says, "but I think that subconsciously I had always wanted to be an artist."
Hamilton began assisting a Bay-area portrait photographer, and by year's end she was shooting weddings. "I photographed my very first ceremony in Mendocino on a bluff overlooking the ocean," she says. "It was the day I fell in love with weddings."
Hamilton has also made a niche for herself as a dog portraitist. "My logo displays a bride walking a dog," she says. "I've found there's a crossover of clients when it comes to weddings and dogs. I've had clients incorporate their dog into their wedding or engagement session, and then book me for a dog portrait session."
She brings a journalistic approach to her work. "I tell prospective clients that I shoot each wedding as if I were writing a story," she explains. More often than not, she says, the story tells itself. "I have a photograph that is slightly out of focus, but it's beautiful, as it depicts a moment between a father and daughter," she says. "The father sees his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress, and he's overcome with emotion. The daughter tries to console him and places her hand gently on her father's cheek. It's a moment that reminds me of my relationship with my own father, whom I lost two years ago to cancer. I tell prospective clients that if I had to pick one image that summed up why I am a photographer, that would be it."