04 Oct La Crosse photographer taking pictures with a purpose
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Graduation, weddings, new babies; these are all exciting times in our lives that we want to be documented with pictures. Many of us pay hundreds of dollars to commemorate these moments with photos from a professional photographer.
One La Crosse photographer is looking through the lens a little differently. You may not know her name, but you may have seen her work.
Sarah Petersen has been photographing people in the La Crosse community for more than a decade, capturing them in the happiest moments of their lives.
She recently did a maternity photoshoot for Liz Kohlmeier who is expecting her third baby in February. “We found out we were expecting at the end of May and then a few days later found out I had breast cancer, so it was all within one week,” said Liz, who started chemotherapy in August. “It’s safe which is crazy like ‘Don’t eat deli meat but go ahead and get some chemo.’ I just can’t fathom it.”
Liz is staying positive through a trying time, switching the focus to what’s really going on in her life. “It’s your life… it shouldn’t be like ‘let’s erase this whole year or whatever just because we are going through this’. Like this is our life right now and it’s okay.”
As a fellow mom, Petersen knows how busy and hectic life can be with little ones. “If you walk through my house it’s just walls of pictures of my kids,” described Petersen.
Usually hiding behind the lens, Sarah is opening up about why she now wants to take pictures of people in the toughest times of their lives.
Two years ago, Sarah had a horrible miscarriage. “I felt like a piece of me was missing,” she said.
“I took that picture where our son is buried. I wanted that child to still be remembered.”
She said that’s when her pictures started to change.
“The people in the community who I’ve been photographing for 14 years, they started to step up. My clients started becoming my friends. They knew my life and they knew where my heart was.”
And now she’s taking Pictures With a Purpose. It’s a new non-profit meant to memorialize the moments in life you typically wouldn’t capture on camera.
“A picture with a purpose, a picture that mattered, a picture that you could say, ‘this was a hard spot in my life but it mattered and I’m not erasing the hurt and the pain and it made me who I am’.”
Sarah is hosting an event on Saturday, October 5 from 8-2 p.m. You can make a suggested donation of $250 to p.s. i love you inc, and receive a mini portrait session by Sarah Schultz Photography.
With your donation, you will receive a mini session for yourself, to honor a loved one, or get the family together for a holiday shot.
The funds raised will directly support local families who are enduring a serious medical diagnosis and will create legacy photography for them to treasure at no cost. Photos will be taken the day of, by Sarah, in her home studio. Please come prepared for your photos as sessions are only 20 minutes each.