From Darkness to Light: A Photographer's Journey


Nature has always been my sanctuary. As a child, I spent countless hours hiking through the Santa Ana Mountains, captivated by the beauty that surrounded me. My love for the great outdoors grew further when I started leading hikes with the Outdoors Club in 2003, and photography joined hiking as a cherished hobby. Capturing that magnificence through my lens became a soul-satisfying pursuit, a way to magnify the glory of creation and connect with the world on a deeper level.

Then, life threw me into darkness. The 2007 recession ravaged the job market, and my career in sales and marketing began to crumble. It felt like the universe was pushing me away from what I knew. But then, one day, a voice whispered within me: "Why are you trying to unlock the doors of your past when I've opened a window to your future?" This epiphany made me realize that photography wasn't just a hobby; it was a calling. Taking a leap of faith, I decided to invest 90 days solely in building my photography business. It was a gamble, but I knew in my heart it was the right path.

The darkness didn't stop there. The loss of my father left me devastated, a void that threatened to consume me. But it was during that time that photography became more than just a passion. It became my lifeline. The quiet moments spent framing a shot, the focus required to capture the perfect detail – these were my therapy, a way to process the pain and find solace in the beauty around me.

The journey wasn't easy. Building a successful business requires dedication and resilience. Just as I found my footing, another blow struck in 2020. A stroke left me facing a different kind of darkness, one that impacted my ability to walk, talk, and even hold a camera.

But the spirit that led me through past challenges wouldn't be broken. When a nurse doubted my ability to rebuild my life, it only fueled my determination. Since my stroke happened during the pandemic, I recovered at home. One technique I learned from an online course during recovery was the Pomodoro Technique, which proved invaluable for my cognitive therapy. Neuro fatigue and difficulty standing for long periods were real challenges, but the Pomodoro Technique helped me rebuild my well-being and my business, one step, one photo edit at a time.

Today, I'm not just a photographer; I'm a stroke survivor who thrives. Every job I take is a triumph, a testament to the human spirit's ability to overcome adversity.


My story isn't unique. We all face darkness in life. But the key is to find your light, your passion, whatever fuels your soul. Take action, even if it's just one small step each day. Focus on the positive, visualize your success, and believe in your worth.

Remember, the path out of darkness begins with a single step. Let your passion be your guiding light, and like me, you too can find the strength to emerge into a brighter future.

Jean Marshall

Here's the general Pomodoro Technique structure:

  1. Select a single task to focus on.
  2. Set a timer for 25-30 min. and work continuously until the timer goes off.
  3. Take a productive 5 min. break-walk around, get a snack, relax.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for 4 rounds.
  5. Take a longer (20-30 min.) break.

The 21/90 rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. Is there a new lifestyle change you would like to make? Commit to your goal for 21 days and it will become a habit. Commit to your goal for 90 days and it will become a part of your lifestyle.