Lisa MacIntosh, found at her website  http://www.lisamacintoshphotography.ca and on twitter @PhotoLMP, is an incredible woman whose photographs, story, and positive energy have inspired me for many years now. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, wife of a hot rod builder and mom to to awesome young men. She is a portrait photographer who loves to hear people’s stories.

Shoot what you love and let it evolve into a project. Put yourself in front of subjects you like as often as you can. If you like taking pictures of your children, take pictures of your children. If you like taking pictures of strangers on the street, take pictures of strangers on the street. If you’re not sure what you like to shoot, take time to review your image archive and look for connections or repeating subject matter and let your project choose you ~ Lens on Life

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Do you have a lightbulb moment? I’ve had many, in all different areas of my life.

I love my photographic lightbulb moment…the moment when I knew what I shot really well, what made my heart sing. I wasn’t sure for a long time and was happy just shooting anything and everything…but something was missing. One day I had my camera pointed at the lovely Torie…that was the beginning of my journey…a journey filled with gratitude and thanks for this fabulous gift of being able to capture more than just a face and hear more than just a story.

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I got my first camera, a polaroid when I was 16…I pointed that thing at everybody! My first film camera followed when I was 17, a Canon AE1 which I still have and sadly, rarely use. The world of photography fascinated me for along time, but that, along with everything else that mattered fell to the wayside when alcohol and drugs became my priority. Life went on around me and I was oblivious to all of it. When I was 24 I’d had enough. I packed that life in, only to return to it 6 years later. I can happily say that on August 17th I will be sober 15 years. I won’t go into all of the details around that journey but i will say that those moments, stories, tragedies made me the person I am today. My biggest gift in sobriety is my relationship with my boys who I adore…the next best gift was my return to my creative self. It didn’t happen right away but when it did, I secretly wept with joy.

I’ll fast forward to the last couple of years…you can read about the rest when I finally write that book!

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Many of us that are connected through the lens and social media choose a word to live by each year. Last year was an easy choice for me, FEARLESS! I loved it and it pushed me beyond where I thought a simple word could. When the year came to an end I was struggling to find my word for 2013…it just had to be more powerful than the previous…a bigger, bolder word…and then I chose ASK…or maybe ASK chose me? Those three little letters, that tiny little word literally changed my life. FEARLESS had my back…I was ready to ASK! And I did, I asked everyone that I wanted to photograph if I could photograph them. I wasn’t going to be afraid of rejection, or self doubt as to whether or not I could really photograph someone well…dammit, I was going to do this! I spent the better part of a year wandering my city, looking through my lens and listening…always listening.

My journey continues…bigger than i could ever have imagined and I’m loving every step.

Here are some of the faces I’ve seen along the way…

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Thank you sincerely for sharing all of this with us, Lisa!