Hey there, friend!
I am Abbey Wells. I’ve lived my whole life in the Tulsa area, but from my birth to age 20 I lived in the same house with my parents in Jenks. In my teenage years, I thought that I wanted to leave Tulsa, but I am glad to say that when I moved out of my parent’s house, it was into Midtown Tulsa- easily one of my favorite places to be. Within a year of moving out, I fell in love with the “cute waiter” at Queenie’s with the most wonderful blue eyes. In March of 2016, we got married, bought a house, and put a deposit down on our new puppy- it was a busy month. Today, I still live in Midtown Tulsa, but now with my husband, Kevin, our dogs, Lucy and Ladd, and my cat, Birdie.
My photography journey started 8 years ago, which you can read about in-depth here. Since my initial training in photojournalism, I’ve pursued portrait photography, then lifestyle photography, and now I’m back to my photojournalistic roots with documentary photography. I love the process that comes with documentary photography and telling stories of life in an organic way.
So the big question- why do I make photographs?
I’ll answer this with a personal story.
On the night of April 26, 2017, my parent’s home, and the first home I had ever known, caught on fire. It was terrifying, humbling, and full of so much loss. 24 hours after the fire, we joined my family at the hospital to say our final goodbyes to my grandfather who had rapidly declined in health. Those 24 hours were the most sorrowful and overwhelming hours of my life, and even more so for my parents.
My parents are now in the process of rebuilding. I went by the house to see the demolition progress, and it was so surreal to see this home of mine, so torn apart. As I was walking through the destroyed rooms, I couldn’t help but think of some images that I made of my parents a few years ago within those walls, and how those images will be the pictures that we look at to remember what their house was like before the fire.
This is not a season that we will ever forget, and I honestly don’t know if we would choose to, because despite the loss and the pain, it is a part of our story and there has still been joy, still gratitude, and still so much life happening. In times where life is sorrowful, photography helps me to see joy and all the things to be grateful for, and allows me to tangibly document it. It’s from the process of recognizing and documenting gratitude + joy, even in the most difficult seasons of life, that I find my purpose as a photographer: to make images for people who are searching for gratitude + joy in every season of life, with a goal to remember where they’ve been, what they’ve endured, and to tell their story to the generations to come.
Photo of us by Molly Thrasher