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Inspiration: Me Ra Koh Makes Miracles With Photography

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Inspiration—You've probably heard this quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." Me Ra Koh is one of those people who shines so brightly from within that not even true darkness is needed to see her beauty. She is full of confidence, a passion for photography, and yearning for empowering other women through that same vehicle.

Indeed, in her hands, a camera is not just a means of capturing an event, but a catalyst for sharing, for building confidence, for showing love. Many people love the camera and are reasonably good at taking pictures. However, it takes a special, perhaps emotional person to not only achieve the level of success she has, but also to care for her subjects and care to teach and lift other photographers as well. Indeed, Me Ra and her husband have had their work featured on VH1’s Fabulous Weddings, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Lifetime Television. Grace Ormonde’s premier Wedding Style magazine named them one their Masters of Craft photography teams. Their images of weddings and children have been published worldwide and have won international awards.

She is a powerful force for good. Her CONFIDENCE workshops focus on teaching women both the mechanics and emotions of photography. She is a maker of progression. That's because she herself has progressed and evolved. So many of us experience unexpected twists in life and pain. Some dwell on the "unfairness" of those twists, or wallow in the pain. Many don't know how to move beyond the pain. But, as surely as time marches on and the sun rises and sets each day, we all must choose to rise above it. Those who truly do are most often the ones who don't ignore the role that twists and pain have played in their life, but acknowledge that those things are or were, for better or for worse, a part of their existence, a part in making them who they are today.

Being a successful photographer was not, in fact, something Me Ra originally envisioned being, but came out of a place of pain. "I didn't find photography. Photography found me. And then it healed me." More than 10 years ago, she had risen above the trauma of date rape, then written and published a book about overcoming it. She and her husband Brian spent 18 months on the road doing over 50 national TV and radio interviews about the book, "hoping," she says, that "one woman would feel hope again."

But then pain confronted her again with the loss of their son Aidan. She sought refuge behind the camera, at a loss for words either written or spoken. In capturing the ignorantly blissful moments of her daughter Pascaline, she began to work through her grieving process, to heal, and in so doing, found that she was good at taking pictures. Other people started noticing too, she was asked to photograph other people's weddings, babies, and precious moments. Her passion and that of her husband have propelled to generous success.

She is making a difference, then, both because of the inspiration of her story, and what she does to proactively inspire others. You can read more about her at, on Twitter @merakoh, and on Facebook.

What steps do you take to improve your photography skills? What do you love most about photography?
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