We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristi , did college have a meaningful and positive impact for you?
College was such a huge deal for me! My parents encouraged me to start at a junior college and then transfer to the closest university, but I was hard headed and insisted that I needed to go to a university farther away right off of the bat. I knew that meant that I would have to bear the brunt of the cost, so I had to work my tail off to make it happen. I applied for every loan/grant/scholarship that I was eligible for, and ended up getting a grant but ONLY if I graduated with my degree in biology in a certain amount of time. I was so stubborn, I knew I could get it done I would just have to work really hard. I never took less than 16 hours, most of the time it was more like 20. I always worked two jobs (sometimes three) in order to pay for all of it. I graduated with over a year to spare for my grant with no debt. So even though I might not be using my degree per say, the experiences that I had in order to gain that degree have had a lasting effect. College isn’t always about the knowledge that you gain from the classes you attend, but the life experiences that you endure along the way. It was just the beginning of working hard to prove that I could do it- which has helped develop me into the adult that I am today.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I started, I was always looking to other photographers and thinking how I would never be as good as the Instagram accounts I adored. But as the years have worn on I have developed my own style- one that tells a story of you and your family, your lover, your life. I want my clients to feel the genuine connection with their people, while I bounce around on the outside capturing it. It hasn’t always been easy to figure out how to do that, but I love getting to know each individual family and what makes them who they are. The bond between a mother/father and their babes is a precious and strong one, and I love being able to show that off for them.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I would LOVE for my bestie to visit here in Tucson! We would stay at the Ritz Dove Mountain (for the pools and killer breakfast!) or Star Pass to enjoy the lazy river. All of Tucson downtown is covered in some incredible places to eat- whether you like a fancy sit down restaurant or a food truck, they have it all on Congress and Toole street! Brunch would be necessary at Sonoran Brunch Company and Prep and Pastry on the east side. We would certainly go hiking in some of the most iconic places and of course visit in the Desert Museum and Mt. Lemmon.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story isn’t your typical one- I grew up in a small town, graduating with the same people that I sat next to in Kindergarten. I decided to go to college four hours away, and it was there that I met my husband. Even 13 years ago when we met, it was still a little taboo to get married young. We got married when I was a fresh 22 year old, moved to San Antonio, and then to Tucson shortly after for my husband’s career in the military. We had our first child a few days before our one year anniversary, and with in five years had three more children. My family has always encouraged me and supported me in my endeavors- but those young kids that got married really helped solidify who I am. My husband supports me and doesn’t question when I say I want to take something on. I wanted to be a stay at home mom to my four babes, and although it wasn’t always easy, he made sure that I was able to do it. Then when I decided I wanted to turn my hobby of photography into a career, he was the first one to ask how he could help. I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been provided and that I have someone that encourages me to push on, even when things seem hard. I also owe a lot to my fellow photog friends, we are really like one big community that encourage each others art!