Vesta MacIntosh


Interview by Derrick Scott and Mathieu Manning
Images © Vesta’s Photography

In any business, passion often finds its roots in childhood dreams and the inspiration of those around us. Vesta MacIntosh, the creative genius behind Vesta’s Photography, is no exception to this rule. As we delve into her journey, we discover the fascinating story of a woman who turned her childhood fascination with photography into a thriving business.

Vesta MacIntosh’s journey to becoming a photographer wasn’t without its challenges. She shares “It’s not easy to be where I am today, I work very hard.” Her dedication began well before the pandemic cast its shadow, tracing back to a time when life was relatively uncomplicated.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted lives around the world, it left no one untouched, including Vesta. She found herself facing the daunting prospect of balancing her photography business with school obligations and the myriad tasks that demanded her attention. This period of uncertainty prompted her to reflect on how she could give back to her community, which, like her, was grappling with the effects of the pandemic.

“I saw that others were also struggling. Not only children, but adults too,” Vesta recalls. It was during these trying times that her profound commitment to mental health awareness came to the forefront. She decided to take action by organizing events that would shine a light on the importance of mental well-being.

To involve the community in her mission, Vesta began offering free photo sessions and diligently selecting photos for her cause. Her efforts went beyond photography: she was determined to make a tangible difference by donating to the mental health association. In her first year of these events, she managed to raise nearly 5000 dollars, an achievement that brought her immense fulfillment.

Since that transformative year, Vesta has continued her annual mental health awareness events. Her unwavering commitment extends to lending a helping hand to people in the community, proving that her passion for photography is matched only by her dedication to making the world a better place, one photograph at a time.

A Picture-Perfect Beginning

Vesta’s journey into photography was heavily influenced by her grandfather, a man who ignited her passion for capturing moments. “I grew up watching my grandfather develop images in the darkroom,” Vesta reminisces. “He owned a newspaper called ‘The Outlet’ and did its photography. That’s where it all began.”

Vesta’s childhood was spent in Magog, a small town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Her family later moved to Ottawa. These starkly different landscapes left an indelible mark on her perspective as a photographer. “Magog is so beautiful, but my heart is here in Ontario, particularly in Rockland.”

Despite her early exposure to both business and photography, Vesta’s path to becoming a photographer was not a direct one. She initially aspired to be a fifth-grade teacher but found herself irresistibly drawn to photography during a semester at Algonquin College. “It was a mind-blowing experience for me,” Vesta recalls, describing how she fell in love with the artistry of photography and its science of light.

A detour into early childhood education and a stint as a home daycare provider followed, all while Vesta’s creative spark continued to smolder. It wasn’t until she took her own maternity photos during her third pregnancy that the idea of turning her passion into a business truly took hold. Five years later, Vesta’s Photography is flourishing, with countless ideas yet to be explored.

The Evolution of Technology

“I imagine technology has certainly changed your business compared to when you were taking pictures with your grandfather without computers and technology,” we asked.

Vesta fondly remembers her grandfather’s old-school methods and the sensory memories associated with his darkroom. However, she acknowledges that technology has revolutionized the field, opening up endless creative possibilities.

Capturing New Beginnings

Maternity photography holds a special place in Vesta’s heart. She offers two distinct styles: outdoor and studio maternity shoots. While outdoor sessions are a joy, Vesta has found studio work to be more challenging and rewarding. “Studio sessions demand meticulous planning, envisioning the final image, and carefully orchestrating every detail,” Vesta explains. “It allows for more creative movement and flexibility, enabling me to experiment with backgrounds, gowns, and emotions.”

But for Vesta, maternity photography is not merely about aesthetics. “I’m not just taking a picture. I want to convey emotion and connection between the mother and her new baby,” she emphasizes. Whether it’s a first pregnancy or a sixth, each moment is unique and deserves to be captured.

A Dual Calling

Vesta’s journey also led her to become a birth doula, a role she seamlessly integrates with her photography services. “Birth doula services with photography create a beautiful environment,” she tells us. She offers emotional support to mothers and partners, ensuring they have a memorable and empowering birthing experience.

“I capture those raw moments of support, the first meetings, and the first feedings,” she shares. It’s a deeply intimate and unforgettable journey that Vesta is privileged to document.

A World of Innocence

“Newborn photography is a real passion of mine,” Vesta reveals. “When I hold a newborn, I feel like I understand their needs intuitively. It’s an incredible experience.” Through her lens, she captures the precious moments of a baby’s early days, offering parents not just images but memories to cherish.

No Weddings, Please

Surprisingly, Vesta admits that she steers clear of wedding photography. She finds weddings too stressful and high-pressure for her taste. “My heart isn’t in it,” she confesses. “I believe that my connection with families and understanding their stories
is what sets me apart.” Vesta thrives on building relationships and being part of her clients’ growth and joy.

A Personal Connection

Despite her bustling career, Vesta’s family is an integral part of her business. She often welcomes her children into her studio, allowing them to assist with setup and cleanup. This familial atmosphere not only fosters a sense of belonging but also introduces her clients to her personal world. “Welcome to Vesta’s photography family,” she proudly exclaims. “I remember every baby, every maternity. It’s like having a very large family.”

As our discussion with Vesta MacIntosh comes to an end, it’s evident that her commitment and distinctive approach to photography have established her as an invaluable presence in the realm of capturing life’s most precious moments. Vesta is a photographer who meticulously weaves emotions into every shot, creating enduring memories meant to be cherished through generations.

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