Kolbie Bartholomew, Nature Photographer at the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego, California.
Kolbie Bartholomew, Nature Photographer

Photography is a means to an end for me. It is not just an art. It is a tool for personal transformation.

Life is hard. It’s full of terrible choices and difficult work. But it’s full of beauty and energy too.

There have been times when life hurt too much to carry on. I have wanted to give up, and end it before I could suffer any more pain. But if had I not found a way to keep going, I would have missed out on so many great things!

I’ve stood on the brink of a steaming volcano’s caldera, sat within reach of angry wild lions, and explored a sunken destroyer 100 feet below the ocean’s surface. I’ve created two beautiful, smart, and unique kids that I never would have known if I’d given up.

But to keep going during the hard times, I needed a rogue aurora. An unexpected light in the darkness that is hope for a better future. I had to seek out that light, surrounding myself with positive things that made me stronger.

By spending time in nature, I blocked negative influences in my life. I was able to put the past behind me and take steps toward creating a better future. Photography became the tool I used to transform my life.

Looking through the lens helped me focus on the present moment and dream of a brighter future. Photographs light little fires of inspiration that ignite my imagination. These little fires have been fanned into the flames of a passion to grow and change myself. I couldn’t remain the same suffering person, if I wanted to achieve my goals.

A new me has emerged from the ashes of my past, and it all started with a simple love for nature. That’s why I’ve chosen the mythical phoenix to represent me as I continue on my journey. This ancient Greek bird repeatedly dies a fiery death, and yet is always nourished by the ashes into new life.

I can’t avoid hard times. They come in waves even as the phoenix’s death does. But the ashes of my past spark my imagination, allowing me to envision new possibilities.

So I seek out light, beauty and hope with my camera, and it lifts me up. Makes me stronger for the next challenge.

I hope that photography does the same for you. Surround yourself with nature, and let it spark a passion in your heart. Let it light a fire under you, pushing you to live life to the fullest.

Transform your surroundings and you can transform your life.


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