The only secret is

to believe in it

I grew up divided between two opposing backgrounds. On the one hand, “normal” life in a city apartment with my mother, and on the other, marginal life between caravans in the forest and squatting with my father. On the one hand, the softness and warmth of a home, but the conformity that leaves no room for dreams…  On the other hand, the adventure and the dream, but the constant anguish and the hardships of life without a fixed abode… The only thing they had in common was that both were unhappy and lived on little money. My father and I had horses that we moved around on abandoned and maintenance-free land that we found like gypsies. Horses were my passion, my motivation, all my life.

Art as an escape route

Artist since always, it is first in the drawing then in the writing that I find my first means of expression. When I write, I can escape without judgment and without fear of consequences. When I draw, it is a universe without limits that is offered to me. I create a world where I feel good. I naturally excel in literature and visual arts where I can let my creativity express itself. What fascinates me is to deal with the given literary and artistic subjects by looking for the most original angle to approach it. The one that nobody will think of.

At the age of 13, still passionate about horses, I decided to leave home to do an apprenticeship in horse racing near Marseille. For my mother, it was a tragedy. I am too young to leave home and especially to know what I want to do with my life. Today, in our society, you need high degrees to have a good situation. They also explain to me that horse racing is a man’s world, I am a woman, I should start a family and I would have even less chance of getting there.

At that time, motivated by my passion for horses, I had very good grades at school. They explain to me that with my great abilities, it would be a pity if I went into apprenticeship instead of obtaining a high level diploma. I don’t have the right to choose.

Cinema

Not knowing what to do with my life, no longer finding the motivation, my grades dropped severely leaving me with no choice. I have to follow the literary branch. In order to be in the same class as a friend, I enrolled in the cinema and audio-visual option. There is no coincidence. I fall in love with images.

As a final-year project, I make my first reportage. And my film is the jury’s favorite. I love this artistic universe that combines drawing, writing and other arts that I’m getting to know. So I decide to continue my studies in this way.

Completely

Lost

Unfortunately, because of our limited financial means, I cannot follow these studies. So, I return to my first love, horses. Two options: become a Republican Guard in the Army or a veterinarian. I choose veterinarian and enroll in the Biology Faculty.

Obviously, after a literary baccalaureate, I am completely dropped. The level is much too high. I find a new option, a technical diploma in agricultural management. And I went for two years between a school near Bordeaux and agricultural internships in the Camargue and Ireland. I discover the reality of agriculture. Hundreds of calves piled up in sheds without ever seeing the light of day or a blade of grass. Ducks force-fed in a few seconds and living sequestered in buildings with artificial lights. The nightmare, the hell.For sure, I would never work in this environment. Never.

Horse Protection Association

At the same time, I created an association for the protection of horses. We recover horses that have been mistreated or destined for the threshing floor and offer them a new life. A life as a lawn mower. The idea is simple. In the region, landowners have to pay a lot of money to have their land maintained and to avoid fires. The association offers them to host horses that will do the work for them without spending any money. The idea works, we save a lot of horses and the city of Antibes takes us under its wing.

Australia

At twenty-one, I flew to Australia. One year to live in a van and to travel around this incredible country where everything is different. I left full of fears and prejudices and I came back amazed.

For the occasion, I buy my first reflex camera. My goal, to immortalize my trip, but also to share my daily life with my family and friends who stayed in France. At the time I didn’t know blogs but I regularly posted my photos on facebook along with text to tell about my adventure. That was the beginning of story telling.

The life I lead during this magical year is the life I want to lead. So I decided to become a photographer reporter.

 

Back to France

I go back to France, without diplomas and without a job. I start working in sales. Everything goes there. Fashion, supermarket, catering, bakery. But at the same time, I don’t forget I want to become a photographer-reporter.

Except that I don’t know any photographers and nobody can explain me how to become one. I start researching on the internet. I finally came across a wedding photographer who also dreamed of being a photo-reporter and who by chance found himself becoming a wedding photographer.He explains that wedding photography is also reportage and that he loves his job.

I am reading up on the subject and this profession is starting to fascinate me.Capturing intense emotions, immortalizing loved ones who may not be there tomorrow, bringing happiness to people, I find this mission beautiful. So I create my business by following youtube videos. The important thing at this time was that I was convinced that I could do it.

There is no

Coincidence

With a lot of effort, I finally found my first wedding. Champagne! It turns out that the best man is the best friend of the boss of a wedding photography agency. They regularly look for new photographers. Perfect! I seize the opportunity and start photographing several weddings a week. My dream comes true. I am trained by professionals who guide and advise me. I’m no longer alone, in the blur and in trouble.

After two intensive years in this agency, the overwhelming volume of weddings exhausts me and makes me slowly lose my passion. It’s time to leave the agency and fly on my own.

Hired Photographer

Naturally hypersensitive, I have always suffered from the injustices of this world. So, I have decided to act at my level and in my own way.

Click below to discover what I do for ecology.

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Sarah Stefani

Today, I travel the world photographing moments of happiness. I am fortunate to have documented love stories in Morocco, Canary Islands, Scotland, Wales, England and Thailand.

I privilege quality over quantity. I accept a limited number of weddings and this allows me to create a real complicity with each of my couples.

 

Sarah Stefani