Marsheila is special to me… 
Now, all my clients are special to me, but Marsheila is also a neighbor and a friend. She is a kind, generous and giving person, strong and independent, and it was not until she finished her treatment regimen and in remission that I even learned that she was fighting breast cancer. I had the opportunity to photograph this courageous woman at a turning point in her life, and I wanted to make sure I captured the essence of her courage, resilience and determination. I believe that when photography is done right, the lens sees directly into the soul. Marsheila’s openness, her vulnerability, and her honesty made this a reality.

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"Growing up I was aware of people being diagnosed with cancer and yet the gravity of someone being diagnosed with cancer never fully sunk in, not until my mom was diagnosed. One never really can comprehend the impact a terrible disease takes until they are directly affected by the situation. I remember coming home from college one day the end of my freshman year to a situation that would change my world forever. I had walked into the kitchen one morning just before my mom left for work, and she looked at me and told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My first reaction was to cry and comfort my mom. My mom is by far the strongest person I know; as a single mom she raised me to be independent and thoughtful. When you hear the word “cancer” come out of someone whom you love's mouth, your mind begins to wonder about the future, and that haunts you beyond belief. 

My mom was truly a fighter during her treatment process, a testament to her strong willed character.  At home, roles quickly changed.  My mom was once the caregiver, but now I took that role; this experience, however, allowed me to become even more grateful for all things my mom had done as a single mother. Seeing someone you love in so much physical change is difficult, especially as you realize that you can only do so much for them in the moment.

My mom was very lucky. Within weeks of her initial treatment her cancer began to respond. Her doctors and nurse were amazed beyond words. With all the darkness that cancer brings, light also shines through...manifesting itself in the incredible acts of kindness from those who love you most. My mom—just like any other person who faces cancer—would have never chosen such a battle, but she chose to fight for her life...for herself, her son, her family and her friends. And because of her courage, my mom and I will be forever bonded."

- Dwayne Moore

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The Beginning...

So, I figured it’s time to take a leap of faith. I‘ve been sitting on this idea for a while, admiring other photographers who have a talent not only for photography, but for writing as well. How lucky are they! NOT I…Sometimes I feel like I can barely communicate in Ukrainian. Or Russian. Never mind English! Being a perfectionist, I am always very self conscious about my use of English, and I am fairly sure that my friends and clients from time to time think: “What the heck? Is she is talking gibberish?!” I see their confused faces, and I think, “Oh, not again! But at least they seem to be having fun.” Even now—as you read this—I can imagine you hearing my words in a thick Eastern European accent.

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled around Europe and the U.S., residing in different countries along the way. Recently I moved to what appears to be one of the most beautiful places on this planet: The Pensacola area on the Florida panhandle. Here I am resuming my photography business once again, after running it successfully for the last nine years up in Northeast U.S. It has been a truly wonderful (and sometimes challenging) journey, through which I have met the most amazing, kind and interesting people while gaining many wonderful friendships. I am looking forward to having “fun in the sun” and working with incredibly warm, welcoming and beautiful people here in Florida. 

Today I wanted to post some photos from my first portrait shoot at my new location, featuring Livi and Kylie. I’m very lucky to have had them as my first clients and absolutely loved hanging out with these two beautiful, smart, funny young women just before they leave for college.  We had a great shoot and a lot of giggles, and I went back to my office armed with a list of all the beautiful places to visit and the best restaurants in the area! Funny…I was supposed to be taking photos and looking after them, but in the end it felt like they were taking care of me Happy 

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