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Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Sarah Brooke Lyons

Photo: Photo by Sarah Lyons, License: N/A

Photo by Sarah Lyons



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In five years I would like to be doing more international work, I would like to be shooting for national publications and be doing portraitures that tell a story of public figures and community leaders.

What age do you expect to retire?

I don’t ever expect to retire [laughs] I don’t want to­—it’s not an option!

I just did a mission trip with a woman who is 78 and every couple of months she goes to a different country. She’s a nurse and she goes with different organizations that set up medical clinics and she’s sort of my inspiration. She’s going to keep going, she’s heading to India in November and I kind of see myself doing something like that. As long as I can keep helping people with photography, I’m going to keep doing it.

What’s your biggest financial worry?

I used to worry financially but I gave it up to God, though. I stopped trying to be the mother and father and I’m just the mother and I let God be the father. I let go, I give him every time I’m worrying about something financial, I let it go and I remember God is my protector and my provider and I don’t have to be everything. I don’t have to do it all, I can only do what I can do, and I just keep working hard and it’s amazing how it all works out. I’m always fed, I have everything I need and I get to have these incredible life experiences, I keep being in awe of them.

Has your career altered your personal life?

I’ve been able to come out of my shell a lot. Particularly when I came out of my marriage I had a lot of anxiety and it was difficult for me to be social. The camera was a way for me to interact with people that I couldn’t seem to find within myself. So, I was able to form relationships through photography.

It’s also been very therapeutic for me, just the creative aspect of it […] it’s opened up my eyes to how I can help people with photography. I just got back from a trip to Brazil and I met a little girl there; I’ll be able to tell her story now, I’ll be able to share with people her needs, her hopes for the future and her life can be changed dramatically because of the willingness to go there and capture her story. And this also happened on a trip to Africa and it happens here as well. I think I realized what I do is bigger than me, I can serve other people through what I do, I can share their stories and give them opportunity and hope. I can be the middleman that gets their story and their voice to a larger audience and that to me is more important than anything else I could ever do.

Did your mother work when you were growing up?

She mostly stayed at home. There were a couple of times where she had a job but mostly she was a stay at home mom.

Are you planning to always be the primary breadwinner?

I don’t know. It would be nice to not have to be, but I have no problem with it, either. I just think whatever God has in store that’s the direction I’ll go. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, I don’t really think about it.

Rise of SA’s Female Breadwinners
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