Thank you for getting all the way to my “About Me” page. I guess that means you’re curious about me. You might have even thought I was a guy with the name “Mick” (I get that a lot actually). My real name is Melissa but I started going by Mick when I was little. I couldn’t pronounce the words “Mickey Mouse” so I’d always say “Mick-Me-Mouse”. Eventually the Mick stuck and now here I am with the likes of Jaggar and some canceled show about a middle aged aunt that I never actually watched.
To be honest, I really like the name. It just fits.
The rest of this page is probably a bit T.M.I. but I feel like vulnerability comes with the job. As a photographer I am asking you to “act natural” in front of a lens with a person you don’t really know behind it. I’d love to close that gap a bit by telling you a part of my story. So, I apologize in advance for the lengthy read, but feel free to click away. I won’t quiz you on this at our first session. Second, maybe, but first, no.
I grew up in Minnesota with one younger brother and parents that had me when they were 17 (who are still together by the way - go mom and dad!). In school I gravitated toward art and writing, along with sports and Broadway musicals. I’ve always been someone who could be interested in anything (as long as it’s interesting of course).
So I went to school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and received a degree in Journalism. It seemed to fit my variety of interests. I wanted to write about anything and everyone and travel the world.
After school, I found an opportunity in marketing where I got to use my writing skills for an airline and vacation company that’s now owned by Delta. I worked with an amazing group of ladies that taught me about life and showed me how to make the most of my travel benefits. I went to L.A., Mexico, Las Vegas, New York City, and even New Zealand for practically nothing!
But if you can believe it, I gladly gave those benefits up for this guy below.
We met while I was in college and he was playing professional soccer for a team in Minnesota. I was the marketing intern and he was one of the hot soccer players that I got to hang out with as my payment. He was different from the rest. Kind, smart, and romantic, along with a bunch of other wonderful things. We instantly connected, but life took us in different directions for some time after that.
After emailing once in a while and admiring each other from afar, he finally came back to Minnesota during an off season. We went on a real date, got married in 2008, and suddenly I was thrust into the life of a soccer wife which moved us to North Carolina where we live now. It was during this time when I picked up a camera again. I dabbled in high school and college but never took it too seriously. (Mostly because I was too poor to develop the film).
A few years into our marriage, I began shooting as a professional photographer in small ways. This was also when we wanted to start a family. I wrote a blog documenting our struggles in the process. I suffered from infertility and miscarriages for three years before our daughter came along in 2012. The pain that came with that experience is something I’ll never forget. The guttural cries in dark rooms after finding out the very worst. My first miscarriage was a set of monoamniotic twins that didn’t make it past 10 weeks.
After that first pregnancy failed, I had yet another one so we have three angel babies waiting for us in heaven. It’s sometimes hard for me to talk about because I know many stories don’t end as happy as our’s did. Once we finally found out what was wrong, my belly was in a continuous bake mode for four years straight.
We weren’t sure we should go for a third but we gave it a shot and guess what, twins! I was absolutely enormous (proof below). I remember being asked at around five months pregnant if I was due in a week. “Nope, I still have FOUR MORE MONTHS TO GO!”
The level of discomfort was what I describe as “obscene” and I didn’t handle it well toward the end. But I was often reminded of that first set of twins and all the different ways our family story could have turned out.
This ginormous belly was nothing short of a blessing.
We felt complete once Carter and Beckett arrived.
And we transitioned into parenthood like a lot of people do. Slowly letting go of our coolness with each parental purchase.
Despite the diminished coolness (which I’m pretty sure we never actually had), we love parenting our four kiddos. It’s definitely not a job for the faint of heart. Challenging yet oh so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Whenever I get a chance, you can see our family over on mickandco.com where I blog about whatever comes to mind.
And even though my husband and kids mean the absolute world to me, I have to admit my camera does too. We sometimes call my Canon our fifth child because of my attachment to it.
I’m not one of those people that’s super protective of my belongings.
But if you mess with my camera…
I will cut you.
As for who I am as a photographer, I love the real stuff. Even though you’ll see smiling faces and some of the traditional pictures in my galleries, my most favorite shots are the ones where a genuine interaction happens between loved ones, whether it’s a bride and groom, mother and son, or graduating senior and her cello/chinchilla/guitar. I also love portraits that tell a deeper story, by how the light hits the subject or how the eyes meet the lens. I am constantly practicing and striving to grow in my craft. It’s my true passion.
And somehow I feel like my extroverted-introvert and semi-awkward personality lends itself well to allowing people to be who they are in front of my camera. I know you’ll never truly forget that I’m there, but hopefully you feel comfortable enough to be yourself.
So that’s a bit about me, Mick.
If you’d like to hear the longer version of any aspect of my life (as if I haven’t taken enough of your time with this novel), feel free to ask me out for coffee. I will probably order hot tea or a cider beer because my mom convinced me that I was allergic to caffeine when I was little and I still believe that’s true. And I will more than likely turn the conversation around on you. I’d rather hear about your life and what makes you tick.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Instagram - @mickschultephoto
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