Senior Madi Dombrowski Shares Her Passion for Photography

Lexi Tarter, Design Editor

She puts the lens to her eye and life transitions from being out of focus; it suddenly becomes clearer. Senior Madi Dombrowski chooses to view life through her lens. To her, photography is more than a hobby — it’s her passion. When she presses her camera button, there’s so much beauty when she looks at others and when she’s able to use her camera to capture beauty, it seems unreal that the world holds this much perfection. Looking at someone through her lens and seeing the smiles, the sparkle in people’s eyes, and other qualities that make them unique makes the world she sees through her lens the best possible place to be.

“Photography is what has kept me going,” Madi said. “Through life-changing difficulties and unhappy times, photography has never failed to show and remind me of the beauty in everyday life. Being able to find this beauty and show others through photographs would be the most fulfilling way to spend my life.”

Madi started her business, Madison Nicole Portraits, two years ago. The company served as a gateway from a hobby to a full-time job. Using her website and Instagram to promote her work, she offers a two hour session with two to three outfit changes then a disk with the client’s enhanced portraits. She also offers 45 minute “mini sessions” which are treated like full sessions but with one outfit, and the clients receive fewer images. Madi discovered her true passion in the seventh grade when she tagged along for her brother’s senior picture session.

“After [attending my brother’s photo session], taking pictures was just something I enjoyed playing around with and experimenting with,” Madi said. “It has been through about the past year and a half that I truly discovered my love for photography. When I understood that just one photograph had the power to expose the beauty not only on the outside of people but their beauty on the inside, I could never get enough of photography. From the learning, practice and many failed moments I was amazed by it all.”

In order to further herself in her photography career, Madi plans to spend time on working on branding her company and polishing her technique to provide the best quality of portraits for people. However, during her high school career, it hasn’t always been easy for her to establish herself as a photographer. But with the support of the people close to her, she’s been able to prosper.

“Reactions from my peers have always been extremely supportive and think it’s great,” Madi said. “Adults tend to have more of a mixed reaction. Often they are skeptical that a teenager can produce quality portraits. Others think it’s amazing that I have started to make my dreams reality. My parents have been amazing supporters; they understand my crazy schedule during busy season, always provide feedback and never doubt my ability.”

With the emotional support of her mother, Lisa Dombrowski, Madi has somebody to listen to her thoughts and ideas about her photography. According to Lisa, she has always been honest about Madi’s work. If her mother feels something is not quite right she tells Madi, so she can see that the opinion of others may not always mesh with hers. Her mother has also made sure that Madi has everything she needs to be successful, such as top notch cameras, accessories, props, a computer and computer programs.

“I have always known Madi is a very artistic person,” Lisa said. “From drawing to picking out what she was going to wear to school in elementary, she has had that keen eye.  All of that eventually turned into her passion for photography. Madi will have my help for her passion of photography for as long as she needs — this is her life to live.  My hopes for Madi’s future is that she is happy. I feel as  if Madi is happy she can achieve any dreams she may have. Her ability to find the beauty in everyone shows in her words and work, and for that I love her to the moon and back.”

Madi has been able to rely on friends for testing out new photography methods. Whenever she wants to try out a new lens or something she learned at CAPS, senior Elise Peterson lets Madi test it out on her. And when she takes other people’s pictures, Peterson usually tags along.

“It’s been neat to see how her photography and herself personally have grown since she first started taking pictures,” Peterson said. “I can tell that she truly loves it, and the fact that she decided to start up her own business while still in high school is super inspiring to me. She is one of the most hardworking, kind individuals that I know, and I am so thankful to have become friends with her. Madi continuously inspires me everyday. She loves photography and wants to show everyone how they’re beautiful in their own way.”

The dedication needed to turn a passion into a reality is something that isn’t necessarily easy, but according to Madi, it’s worth the hardships to see the finished product at the end.

“The most important thing I have learned by starting my own business is that there is never a challenge too big to overcome for something you love,” Madi said. “Don’t wait for tomorrow to do it. Do it now. It may be a small start, but you always have to start somewhere. Once you make your passion a reality, you’ll know that your life has truly begun.”

Pursuing a passion can have positive outcomes and provide stories that inspire a person to never give up — it gives life a purpose. Madi said there was a session with a teenage girl where when she showed the girl a few images on the back of the camera, and the girl began to cry. What the girl said to Madi stuck: “I thought people could only look like this with Photoshop.” That was one of the moments that Madi realized showing people what they truly look like brings an indescribable joy. Photography has allowed overwhelming happiness to be present in Madi’s life every day.

“Photography and my business have impacted me in ways I never imagined,” Madi said. “It has allowed me to show others how I see the world when words fail. It has brought me a kind of joy that when you go to sleep at night you’re smiling. It also allowed me an escape from the lowest point in my life. Running a business has also showed me a new side of responsibilities, and made me grow up quickly to be able to handle the situation. Overall, photography is the reason I am the person I am today, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”


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