We had the good fortune of connecting with Chermetra Keys and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chermetra, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
Seeking therapy and falling in love with myself has been the most meaningful thing I’ve done as an individual. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I realized deep down inside I wasn’t happy with myself and it was truly affecting the relationship with myself and my kids. I needed help and had no idea where to look. It wasn’t until I joined Fit and Nu where they not only offer fitness and nutrition for women of color, at that time, they were also offering a session called purpose prep coaching. When I began going to these sessions, I remember being asked “what is your why” in my first session and I was stunned because I had no idea other then for my kids but it didn’t feel like my truth. Each session I felt as if I was peeling back layers from a onion and so much from my childhood started to come to light. It was these session that helped me dig deeper into why my kids where behaving the way they were and I realized I had no home and work life balance that was consistent. This was only the beginning of the journey of loving myself because at the end of the day all I ever wanted was to make sure my kids had a happy mother and not just one who faked the smile but truly felt happy inside. Here I am now having had these session with Fit and Nu, I’m more organized, my laundry is folded and put away, I’m planning out my schedule and no longer living this busy life which created so much chaos in my day-to-day life. Not only did I make the changes in my life for myself I’m always setting the example in my household, modeling these same examples for my kids because what I do definitely impacts their lives as well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Where do I start…. this journey hasn’t been easy at all. I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome because unlike other photographers who maybe went to school for photography or fell in love at a younger age, it wasn’t the same for me. I picked up a camera with absolutely no knowledge or love for photography at all but noticed my eye for it and I had a gift. I began teaching myself. Everybody learns differently, and I am more of a kinesthetic and visual learner. This entire journey I’ve learned through visual teaching and what I felt looked right to me. Ive had to overcome the challenges of not being able to please everybody and realizing its okay because I don’t want to be for everybody and now I understand that everybody is not for me. Another challenge I faced when I started out was not feeling my work was good enough and consistently making changes to appease everybody else and their vision. But through every obstacle I continue to learn and grow because I remember this is not only about me but also about the women that inspire me to be better everyday.
Giving my clients quality portraits with pops of color and showing their natural beauty to enhance their confidence is my main goal I want my brand to represent. I’m careful in over editing or processing my work because I don’t want to take away from their natural beauty in their portraits. What sets me apart is the connection I give with each of my clients on a personal level when it comes to sharing my truth, insecurities and flaws. From start to finish I want each session to feel like an experience where you can just be yourself.
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?
The first place were stopping by is Mimosas! Omg the food, culture and social atmosphere in that place alone is worth going to the minute getting off the plane! Although I was born and raised in the streets of Denver I honestly didn’t start getting out and exploring until recently, so this would be something fun and interesting for myself as well. I love the art in the Larimer area where we can walk up and down the streets socializing. There are so many shops and restaurants along that strip that I too would love to explore. Denver is a beautiful city I will definitely we have amazing views of the mountains and getting to experience 4 seasons in one day (lol). I plan to explore my own city more and more!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shout out to each and every woman who has had the opportunity to bless my lens. Because of their encouragement I continue to do what I love and focus on growing my brand. Those who tell me I inspire them really don’t know how much they inspire me to be myself, love myself and to share my gift. My journey has not only been about my photography, it has also been a journey of personal growth and healing as well. There are so many women that are in front of my lens with there own perception of imperfection and personal flaws. This helped me realize what we all do and gave me the push to look deeper into my own flaws and heal piece by piece. I’m still on my journey of healing and learning to love the woman God made me who I need to be and share the love for myself with other in hopes that they too will do the same. Its because of these women I was encouraged to live my truth and love myself through my very own lens.
All images credit to The Female Shoota