Today, we want to introduce you to Carolyn Lagattuta, who lives in Santa Cruz and is known as catklein on Flickr. She contacted us a few weeks ago to tell us her Flickr story which she describes as a true journey of inspiration.
Before joining Flickr in 2006, Carolyn had a nagging feeling that something was missing in her life: "I always felt like I never really had one particular thing I was good at – something that lit my fire and made others feel something. Little did I know, that my talent is photography, and that Flickr and the people I would meet through the site would bring it all to the surface." After a friend suggested that Carolyn join Flickr, she immediately found her niche, connecting with other members, joining Flickr groups and gaining recognition among her contacts for her quirky, colorful style and creativity. Carolyn’s newfound passion for photography, breathed new life into her career, friendships and even the way she looked at the world.
Flickr has changed my life
Carolyn says “Flickr has made me see everything in a whole new light. I know it sounds cheesy, but Flickr has truly changed my life. It ignited something inside me and made me feel like I was really good at something. Before I joined Flickr, I was just at home, taking photos with a point-and-shoot camera. The best part of joining the site initially was that I didn’t need to be a professional photographer to capture people’s attention with my work. As my eye and technical ability began to improve, my husband upgraded my camera and my work was getting noticed more and more. The feedback I got from my Flickr contacts, both good and bad, inspired me to keep shooting to see where it would take me."
Catklein then joined the Mission 24 group which used to provide weekly photo challenges to its members in the form of a particular word. The members had 24 hours to interpret it and take a picture of their interpretation – literal or not. "While my photos weren’t the greatest at first, I always tried to be as creative as possible, and I even made the front page of Explore with my interpretation of the word ‘flow’."
"I think this whole experience kicked-off my passion for wanting to think outside the box and have fun with my photos. The reaction to my work has made me feel like I really have a place within the community, and that I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime."
The best thing about the site are the friendships I’ve made
"Hands down, one of the best things about the site has been the friendships I’ve made with Flickr users all over the world." Carolyn and her friends speak on a regular basis, sharing insights on photography, video clips and information on photo workshops. This constant communication between them that has even crossed over into into their personal lives: "I know about people’s children and families, and we help each other whenever needed. I would have never expected to find these kinds of personal connections in a photo-sharing website."
Three years ago, photography was written into my job description
Carolyn works at UC Santa Cruz, and was first hired as an administrator in public affairs and communications, but as she got more involved in Flickr, her photography improved. "My work soon captured the attention of my co-workers and manager, and as a result, three years ago, photography was written into my job description. I’m now also a campus photographer, shooting for the school’s various publications and websites. With all the restructuring and layoffs taking place throughout the workforce, I’m confident that this has made me more valuable to my employer. I even took a picture from the UC Santa Cruz campus that ended up being featured in Newsweek! It just gets better and better!"
Although the benefits Carolyn has enjoyed from Flickr are too many to count, she thinks the main thing is that the community, and photography in general, have made her see everything in a whole new light. "I notice everything, and everything is magnified. Even if I don’t have my camera with me, I notice it all, be it beautiful or ugly, ordinary or unusual; a couple holding hands, a rusty sign, a sunset, a piece of trash in a gutter. I appreciate everything around me in a way that I never imagined I could. Knowing that my new way of looking at the world has inspired me and my friends on Flickr has been invaluable."
Thank you, catklein, for sharing your story with us!
Photos from catklein.