I’ve always loved taking pictures, but until 9 years ago, never had any idea that it would become my career, and more importantly, my passion. In fact, after leaving my corporate job in 2001, I expected to become a social worker or maybe a teacher, and felt that volunteering to help children in foster care was a good way to determine whether I was cut out for either line of work. So I signed up to be a homework tutor at a group home.
As I struggled to find a way to get the kids to do their homework, I discovered that — other than a mug shot for their government file — these children had almost no photographic history. (Remember, 10 years ago, there were no cell phone cameras.) So I photographed the kids in exchange for completing homework assignments, and came to understand the amazing difference having these pictures was making in building their self-esteem.
I decided to combine my love of photography with my ability to connect with children, and started Joan Brady Photography in 2004. My philosophy is simple: Whether children are sharing their favorite park, experiencing something new or playing on their sports team, they should be enjoying themselves when I’m taking their pictures. This way, my images capture who each child is, not just the way he or she looks.
I began photographing four-legged family members in 2006, finding it to be a natural extension of photographing children. Like children, dogs and cats have that wonderful uninhibited quality that makes them so much fun to photograph. Horses, too, have a way of putting their personalities front and center.
While I no long limit myself to photographing children, including children with disabilities, and pets, they remain my specialty.
My photos have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, Capitol File, Children’s Voice magazine(the magazine of the Welfare League of America), Professional Photographer magazine (the magazine of the Professional Photographers Association), O Magazine, the Great Falls Connection, Centre View Southern District Connection, Centre View Northern District Connection, The Times of Fairfax County, The Great Falls Gazette, The Washington Examiner, German Shepherd Quarterly, The Fairfax News, and West Virginia magazine, Walworth County Todayas well as on NBC-4 and in countless marketing, fund raising and public relations publications for various non-profits.
I have also appeared on WAMU and local Clear Channel stations.
I live in Great Falls, Virginia and New York City, with my husband and our two beagles.
Photo of me © Ellen Zangla