Healing through pictures

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PHOENIX -- When you suffer a tragic loss, finding ways to heal can be difficult, but for one woman photography was the answer. She's helping others find the same way out of a bad time -- all by snapping a photo. 

“I started as a writer with no plans to become a photographer,” Me Ra Koh said.

Koh was using words to spread her message of hope after she was date raped back in college. She wrote a book and traveled the country sharing her painful experience. It was also during this time that she suffered another traumatic event, the miscarriage of her second child in 2003.

“I just felt so overwhelmed by that grief that I stopped speaking,” Koh said. “I stopped writing and just really planted myself on the couch for a year.”

It would be her 2-year-old daughter, Pascaline, who would give her the courage to start expressing herself again.

“Her joy and innocence in the first time playing with a balloon, I was like, 'I have to capture this,'” Koh said. “I can't hold on to Aidan's life, but she [Pascaline] was right in front of me and I have to preserve this.”

Instead of using words, she turned to pictures. Koh bought her first SLR camera and taught herself how to use it.

“It was so satisfying and so healing to do this. I couldn't get enough,” she said.

Now, eight years later, her photo journey has taken on a whole new life. Koh went from taking pictures of family and friends to high-end weddings to having her work featured on Oprah to being a photography expert contributor on the Nate Berkus show.
  
“In the midst of all of this, my heart has always been to empower women, to help women find their voice, no matter what trauma they've had to go through,” Koh said.

She decided to do that with her CONFIDENCE workshops. Koh and her husband, Brian, empower women from the professional to first-timers, encouraging them to pick up a camera and start snapping photos.

“You know so much of this already, intuitively," Koh said. "It's the technical pieces that in a weekend, you can totally learn.”
 
Whether you check out a workshop or get advice from her new book, “Your Baby in Pictures," Koh hopes taking pictures can be a healing source for all women. She started with her own family. Capturing the lives of her now 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, Blaze, is still her greatest gift.

“I started as a victim, victim of sexualization,” Koh said. “I picked up a camera because of a grief that broke my heart and look at what happened. If I can do this any of you can do it.”

“Your Baby in Pictures" is in stores now. For more information or how to attend one of her workshops, visit www.merakoh.com.