She wears it as if it’s another appendage on her body. It goes everywhere she goes, including on two motorized wheels. It’s a tool that answers to a lifetime passion, but it wasn’t until her later years in life that she finally responded to its call.
Passionate photographers have a deep personal relationship with their cameras. For the passionate photographer, whether amateur or professional, a moment without a camera in a relatable personal hemisphere is like a moment without air. It’s a passion, a love, they can’t live without. That is how Verna Higgins, age 51, feels about her photography.
Raising two sons came first. Her passion lay dormant while performing the duties of a mom. With one child raised, educated and married and another in his high school years, Verna decided it was time to seriously pick up her Nikon P500 camera to try taking pictures as a profession and a small business. She became what I call a “retired mom.” I’ll explain retired moms later.
I first met Verna while attending a volunteer meeting at the Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce in the quaint little town of Greenbrier, Arkansas. After many disappointing attempts at finding me another job in a sick economy, I decided to take my dream seriously. I started R Squared Communications. I knew I needed to reach out to the local community. My connection with Verna continued through my business Facebook account. I watched Verna display her photography skills whenever she posted them on Facebook. Being a photographer myself, I noticed she was pretty good. I decided to get to know her better.
When I met Verna, she decided to start her own photography business. She was involved with the local Chamber of Commerce for the same reason I was. She stepped back from her dream a little bit because of the local competition, but that didn’t deter her from doing what she loved. Her camera goes everywhere she goes, including motorcycle excursions with her husband, Randy.
Verna takes advantage of their multiple trips via Harley motorcycle into Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida and along the way she hones her photography skills. She’s gotten fairly adept with the video camera too. A favorite photo opportunity is from the perspective of riding on the back of the motorcycle. There are photos taken of reflections from the back of her husband’s helmet. Obviously, there are many other types of photos taken on their trips. Randy shows his support for Verna’s passion by occasionally stopping on the road to allow Verna to get that perfect picture. Often these trips are with a group of friends associated with Randy’s employer.
Success has not eluded Verna. Some of her photos have made it into a bank calendar and a local magazine. She has been asked to take photos for local politicians, local celebrities and political events. Currently, Verna works part-time at the Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce as an Administrative Assistant. New York City was her new photography playground in March 2012. I can tell from my Facebook page that she has been wearing out her camera. She has a good eye, even when she doesn’t use the view finder. Since photography is a visual medium, take a peek at some of the pictures I included in this blog.
As I said earlier, I would explain “retired moms.” I define retired moms as women 50 plus who are empty nesters or will soon become empty nesters and are grandmothers. While I know moms never really retire, the role of mother changes when the children are grown or close to being grown. Since women are natural nurturers, they need to redirect their those skills somewhere else and most of the time it’s getting involved with the grandchildren. When grandchildren are not involved, then the skills are redirected towards an unfulfilled passion. In the very near future, look for articles and stories about these special women. An Inbox Magazine is presently in the works for what I like to call Retired Moms Only. Verna Higgins was just the beginning.
We could all learn from Verna. Age IS just a number. Women’s roles will change with age. I don’t think there is any controversy there, but what matters most is what women 50+ choose to do with their lives when their roles as mothers change. I hope to hear from women who fit that demographic. I want to know what is important to you after age 50.
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