Elizabeth Stember

Do what you love and the rest will follow.

If you had asked me to tell you about me a couple of years ago, I would have started with these two sentences.

My education and training have led to who I am and the passion I have in working with senior citizens’. With a love of sociology my goal was to become a social worker.

I did not become a social worker, however, along the way, I ended up with a career in the gerontology field. I loved every moment of that work. It brought me into relationships with those in society whose careers were over and who had to find value in their lives as they aged. I found beauty in their faces, their wrinkle lines portraying deep love, grief, sadness, patriotism, laughter, excitement, and determination, a rainbow of every emotional expression of life as they had and were living it.

I began to literally document every moment that I could. I found it joyful to photograph them in ways that showed them as still vibrant. They were often hesitant until I promised them “I won’t post it unless it’s good. When they saw their pictures, the look on their faces belied their emotions. I had done what I promised and given them a side of themselves they thought was gone forever. One picture was so good that the family put it on a 90th birthday invitation that went out a hundred people.

As my passion for photography grew, I began to only see the world in photographs. Whenever anyone would ask that question, “what line of work would you choose if you could do anything you wanted, my answer was always “photographer” without hesitation. I began to teach myself. I began to take thousands of pictures while checking out other photographer’s work and trying to learn wherever I could find resources. No, except for one Photography class years ago, I have never had any formal training. They say to do what you love and the rest will follow. I am discovering that statement to be true.

I am deeply indebted to my brother-in-law Bruce Hamilton, of Desertmoon Arts Graphic and Design. Through his own expertise as a multifaceted artist, his great generosity with resources, equipment, support, and encouragement, I have been able to grow as a photographer and pursue my passion.

I would like to dedicate this website to my grandmother, Minnie Deal. Recently, going through thousands of family pictures, I realized that my inspiration and my interest in photography come from my grandmother. She was the photographer of our family documenting the only family history we would ever have. She is my muse.

This is for you Grannie with love and appreciation.