We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Wierda and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
My full time job is in Interior Design and I remember I used to build cabinets when I was a little girl with my dad who was a woodworker. I would often draw up room ideas and found a real love for design in general. My love for photography came later and I’ve always enjoyed being behind the camera and photographing people. I minored in photography at a local art school with the intent to use it for Interior Design, but I found a love for photographing people through it and connecting to hear their stories.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My full time day job is an Interior Designer in commercial furniture. I’ve been working on that industry for over a decade and I’ve grown so much through managing my own projects, starting new teams up, testing strategies, traveling to installs and managing them to learn about what can go wrong and what to consider next time and developing my public speaking skills in presenting to clients. It’s been interesting to be part of the shift of hybrid work through the pandemic and seeing that from a Global manufacture perspective.

I also have a photography business on the side of which I’ve not marketed over the past few years due to having my first son and the pandemic. Photography is my passion and I love working with families, couples, kids etc. to capture memories they will cherish forever. My father passed way too young at 51 due to cancer and since then, I’ve been heavily photo obsessed due to the lack of photos I have of him. I think it’s important to capture the everyday lives and how much people change from year to year to be able to look back on and remember and feel those moments.

In addition to this work, I am starting a passion project right now which involves mental health and photography. I’m in the works of launching Soul Seep, which will capture the stories of Women’s lived experiences with postpartum anxiety and depression, PTSD and miscarriage based on my own experiences as well. My goal is to build up honest raw stories that others can relate to and help build resources that they found helpful.

I also flip furniture on the side because what can I say, I like to hustle. 😉

In terms of the question, what were the challenges and was it easy, I’d say I’ve had so many setbacks and challenges with losing people I love, having huge hardships along the way and also just messing up on missing a shot or not considering something for a furniture install. Those experiences and mess ups are what have made me who I am, they taught me and pushed me to be better. Without them, I was blind to things I should be considering and didn’t have the perspective I needed to relate to others. With those experiences, I do now and although hard at the time, wow what a beautiful messy ride they were.

My instagrams:

Rachel Loren Photography

Getting to Grandeur

Soul Seep

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m based in Grand Rapids, MI

I would say seeing beautiful Michigan and the lakeshore is a must as well as our beer scene, so I’d say:

– Go boating on Lake Michigan for a day
– Visit Saugatuck – cute beach town
– camp at pictured rocks in the UP for 3 days and kayak and hike
– Marquette – Go to Blackrocks Brewery and play some games and have some beers
– GR – Walk around downtown, see a concert at Frederik Meijer Gardens, check out eastown area where all the good shops and food are (Shops – Rebel GR, Woosah, Pink Lemonade to name a few)
– Won’t be time for it, but wine tasting in Traverse City is also a must!

Food Spots:
– Coffee at Outside Coffee (shop at Woosah next door also)
– Brunch at Terra Bagel GR, Social Misfits, Sanchez, Winchester, Donkey
– Dinner at Brewery Vivant (used to be a funeral chapel, pretty cool and their beer is amazing), Terra, Knoop Rooftop Bar or Roses on Reeds Lake
– Desert – Mokaya Artisan Chocolate shop or run over to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket which has dreamy deserts and all sorts of drinks, cheeses and food to go.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Great question! I’d say a lot of my professors in college really pushed me to feel challenged and find my weaknesses and push past them and grow. My family and husband have always grounded me, listened, gave honest guidance and encouragement throughout my life and career. I’d also say my old therapist had a huge part in building my confidence to work through life experiences and come out of them stronger. Through therapy and lived experiences, I’ve found a real love for connecting with people of all different backgrounds on a deeper level. I enjoy documenting parts of their life and helping to share their story.

Website: Not published Yet, but will be www.soulseep.com

Instagram: Soul Seep, Rachel Loren Photography and Getting to Grandeur

Facebook: Rachel Loren Photography

Image Credits
Rachel Loren Photography

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