How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? My life is a classic “full circle” story. Obsessed with animals ever since I can remember, I wanted to be Dr. Doolittle. At age 16, my first job was cleaning cages at the Bronx Zoo (and re-filling the interactive “smell a skunk” station!) and later, working closely with large primates at the London Zoo. Had all the animal reality shows been in vogue then, that would have definitely been my path but they weren’t, and so, with a deepening interest in communication with all beings, I moved towards Human Resources and non profits. I received my MBA and social work license from Columbia University. A few years into the corporate ladder, my life took an unexpected turn into chronic illness, Lyme disease. Lying in bed changed everything, forcing me to find a deeper purpose of how I might serve the world. Like an “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure, including an ashram in India, studies in Qigong and martial arts, and endless meditation, my journey made a full circle where I emerged as an artist, back to my love of animals and working with children. For me, connecting creatively through photography with families and animals is more than an artistic career born out of a lifelong love of nature. It is a deeply personal path to health, whole-hearted living, and service to others.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021? 2021 is a year of settling for me and making roots. My daughter loves her school, I figured out how to water the garden (city girl!), and I’m no longer scared of the strange country sounds! Whereas I used to travel all over the world for my portrait photography, my only clients have been local families this past year and it has been such a gift!. I love my families and they have helped me to develop a real sense of community and belonging.
What is one food you could not live without? My ancestral roots are from Normandie, France. I cannot get enough cheese or croissants!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I used to feed an orangutan yogurt inside her enclosure at the London Zoo and drove a fast golf cart around the Bronx Zoo. I’m a martial artist and I teach Tai Chi.
What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? What surprised me most is that raising the flag on my mailbox means I have mail to be picked up!
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? Returning to my hometown in Normandie, France where I was raised. I have not been there since the pandemic and I miss it very much.
What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? The first thing I do is get on my hands and knees to greet my dog, Luka Long Legs. I then sit and look around from his perspective. For me, this is a quick and powerful tool to become very present – engaging all my senses as he does – which is also why I love being an animal photographer.
Who in your life was – or is – the greatest inspiration for what you’re doing today? Photographer Gregory Colbert – who creates the most beautiful fine art photography, highlighting the human/animal connection. His work is deeply spiritual and it fuels my desire to make the most meaningful photographs for my clients. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson worship.”
QUICK THIS OR THAT:
Cake or Pie? Cake
At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? Popcorn
Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? I don’t drink coffee
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Puzzle or Board Game? Puzzle
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Reading or writing? Writing
Ketchup or mustard? Mustard
Watch or play sports? Play
For more info on Diana, and her incredible work, visit her here, where she shares how “every story is a love story.” In her words “You are invited on a photographic journey. To a day of reawakening, remembering, and honoring the people, places, and animals you love – your LoveStory. This creative experience is a celebration of what is most meaningful. Whether you come with your animal companions, your family, or just yourself, together, we’ll lift up the love in your life. The selection of fine art that you take home will surround your space with beauty that radiates joy, reminding you always of what matters most – that you love and are loved.”