After pouring her heart into raising two children, Jamie Buzil decided to switch the lens in which she viewed herself, rediscovering a long, lost passion nestled into the right side of her brain.
“I was raised with a lot of creativity. My dad adored photography and we even had a darkroom in the house. I’ll never forget those first moments of watching an image come to life on a sheet of paper,” Buzil recalls. “My mom too was creative and resourceful. She sewed and needlepointed; she even made some of our clothes. From a very young age, I realized I too could be a creator, however, like many of my generation I scoffed at the idea that the arts could lead to a sustainable way of life. Instead, I chose a more traditional career path, landing in the food packaging world.”
It wasn’t until Buzil’s children started lives of their own that she pursued Photoshop classes, followed by photography lessons in Evanston, Highland Park, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Workshops from Filter Photo. Eventually, she earned a certificate in fine art photography, along with a new passion.
“I quickly fell in love with my new path. Photography nurtured my soul, giving me a sense of purpose,” Buzil explains. “I’ll be honest, watching my kids move on was depressing, but photography was cathartic and healing. The more classes I took, the more I felt fulfilled. I also received positive feedback from fellow students and instructors, motivating me to ask myself, ‘where is this going?’ ‘Can this be a self-sustaining way of life?’”
Along with sharpening her photography skills, Buzil remained open to another passion—nature, particularly flowers and the great outdoors. Through her artistry, she discovered ways to enhance the beauty that Mother Nature already provided.
“I have a deep love for flowers, so I began wandering gardens, taking hundreds of shots. At the same time, I learned a Photoshop technique called ‘dodge and burn,’ allowing me to accentuate the finest parts of a flower. I describe it as putting on the flower’s makeup. I highlight, I contour, I play with shadows. Essentially, I enhance what is already there,” Buzil shares.
With continued admiration from others, Buzil got down to the brass tacks of working on the business side of photography. She recently created a rudimentary studio in her garage, where she often photographs floral arrangements and other works of nature for various clients. She has learned her own handmade printing technique and even mastered a new skill called alternative transfer, allowing her to take a digital image and transfer it onto any object.
While she still prefers to be out in the field shooting nature in its most real state, she sees her studio space as an additional way to grow her business. Buzil has also taken a leap of faith, participating in her first art fair this past summer in Libertyville. Above all, she hopes her work provides value to her clients.
As for her photography journey, Buzil believes that seeing herself through a new lens, taught her more than she could have ever imagined.
“I realize that I am stronger than I ever knew I was. I’ve learned so much about myself and rediscovered a part of me that was always there,” Buzil notes. “My advice to anyone wondering what their next steps are is to focus on your true passion and run with it.”