CHRIS NOAKES | STUDIO
Becoming a photographer was never something I aspired to do.
Nor was it something that occurred naturally for me.
Contrasting with most of my peers; I wasn’t exposed to cameras at a young age, or introduced to the arts early in my life. The opposite is closer to the truth – my father was an army Warrant Officer, and I failed art in high school - our family didn’t exactly exude creativity.
So when I did become a photographer, much later in my life, it was a pretty significant transition. A shift in mindset that only occurred through extraordinary reason and purpose. And while I now share the same passion as my peers, I also believe my motivation comes from an entirely different place. We love the same things, but why I love them is completely unique to me.
For most of my youth I suffered from the effects of having a very low self-esteem. My self-confidence was negligible, and I required almost constant praise to feel good about myself. No sympathy required, I’m no longer that person – not for a long time now. I mention it only as that part of my life is what laid the foundation for my discovering photography.
With age and accomplishment, I learned to love myself (if you’ll allow me to be cliché). However, having felt what it’s like to not, I also developed this driving need to help others suffering similarly.
My passion for photography developed organically from this.
In wanting to help others, I tried many different things, and developed many different tools. I trained as a harassment adviser, and as a conflict resolution adviser. I took leadership courses and began mentoring. Yet it was through a passing request, to take some photos for some friends, that I discovered the power of a simple photograph - and I was hooked.
Photography has this amazing ability to capture what’s in front of us, and highlight the best parts of it. Including of people, a portrait as it were, which when done well has the ability to make anyone feel amazing. It allowed me to show people what I saw when I looked at them. It accomplished exactly what I was hoping to do.
And so photography became a very altruistic endeavor for me. It was my means to give back, and the tool I used to help people learn to love themselves. My method of empowerment.
If I could sum up my work in as few words as possible, it would be this: people are my passion, photography only a tool.
Over the years since my work has grown, and evolved, always with that simple purpose in mind. I’ve tried my hand at different genres, but always keeping to this premise. I’ve kept myself pushing in directions that would best allow me to accomplish this. And even now, as I turn my photography into a viable business, this idea is built into my process.
Because the best feeling in the world to me, is watching someone express, how good I’ve helped them feel.
This is why I became a photographer.