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About Abeona Photography

I chose the name Abeona Photography after the goddess of the same name, who has many purposes in Roman mythology symbolic of the photography services I provide. First and foremost, Abeona was the goddess of outward journeys, in my case representing my passion for travel. Journeys can, however, also be more metaphorical, such as those being embarked upon among families, embodied either through engagement, wedding, maternity or family photos.

My objective is not simply to document your day, your loved ones' presence or your travels, but rather to get those viewing your photographs (including you!) to stop and appreciate the ambience of the environment and emotions of those involved. I want to bring people to reflect on what it was like to be there at that moment. I want to freeze time and allow you to re-experience the joys of your wedding, your quality time with family and friends, and/or your travels.

My Start in Photography

My interest in improving my photography arose out of a frustration that the images I produced while traveling were not doing my fascinating destinations justice. A trip to Southeast Asia was the final straw. I returned home not nearly as wowed by my photos of the lush hills of northern Laos, frenetic streets of Hanoi and Saigon, captivating ancient temples of Cambodia or vibrant blue seas of Thailand's beaches as I had been while traversing those locations. My photos failed to capture the unforgettable feel of experiencing so many new emotions that traveling engenders.

A few months later I invested in better equipment, but was well aware that simply buying a more expensive camera would not automatically translate into better-quality pictures. It's like the old metaphor: buying a top-of-the-line piano will not turn you into a concert pianist - you have to learn how to use it. So I began pouring myself into photography, including a series of classes, continual experimentation, and even a trip to Cuba with a professional photographer.

While I've learned a ton about photography and how to capture more compelling images that better inspire the genuine feel of any given destination, it's a never-ending process of continuous learning and improving. Any good photographer treats the art as an ongoing mission to better understand the camera, composition, lighting and all other elements of photography as well as how those can be used and manipulated to inspire the people viewing their work.

The Person Behind the Lens

I'm a German-English translator and avid traveler, volleyball player and, of course, photographer. I lived all over the United States (Denver, Seattle, Northern Virginia and New York) and Germany (Freiburg, Hamburg and Munich) before settling down in Portland, Oregon in 2012. I married the love of my life in a beautiful ceremony in southern Iceland in 2015 and we celebrated the birth of our baby boy in 2017 and baby girl a year and a half later in 2018.

I absolutely love the Pacific Northwest, even in spite of the weather, but have not lost my passion for travel. In 2014 I was fortunate enough to spend a full year circling the globe and visiting all seven continents, with many of my photos from that trip found here on this site.

Whether you have a special occasion coming up or are interested in joining one of my upcoming travel photography workshops in various locations around the world (hopefully coming soon, post-pandemic!), I look forward to working alongside you to create and record your special memories.

Melissa Kostelecky

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