Capturing the moment and finding fulfillment

Tracey McEachran tells Inspired Mums how her creative drive and desire for self-fulfillment led her to seize the opportunity to pursue her passion for photography. This pivotal decision resulted in a first class BA Hons degree and MA in Photography together with a new and rewarding career as an innovative photographer.

Tracey (3).jpgWhat did you do before you became interested in photography?

I left school at 16 with no real qualifications and took up a job as window dresser. One day someone saw me in the shop window and asked if I would do a bit of modeling which was my first introduction to photography.

I then started working with Cadbury’s as a merchandiser.  We used to run competitions and as luck would have it I won a camera.  I used to take quite a few photos, out sailing and for friends’ weddings but I didn’t really have a clue about the technical side of photography.

My career then really started to take off and I moved into account management eventually progressing on to manage international clients. I became completely focused on my work and the photography took a back seat for about 12 years.

What happened to change your work-life balance?

It was in 2000, I was out jogging when I was run over.  It was a pivotal moment in my life. Before this happened I remember feeling I’m super fit, almost invincible, and then a second later you are knocked over and realise you’re only a heap of flesh.

It marked a real shift in my life and I suddenly realised that I really wanted to have a child and didn’t want to put this off any longer.

When did photography come back into your life?

After I had my son I really fought for “me” time. I was very driven and used to ask myself what I was going to do for an hour or two each evening that’s just for me. I took up the piano, I started to learn Spanish and that’s also when I picked up my camera again.

Why do you think you were so driven to find time for yourself?

I’ve always believed in carving out some intellectual, spiritual and experimental time for myself – it makes me feel more balanced.

You returned to work after the birth of your son and but then decided to hand in your notice and do a degree in photography.  How did you go about doing this?

I really planned my way out of my job over a two year period.  I worked out my finances based on what we needed - not what we wanted - so that most of my earnings went into savings. We moved to Portsmouth so I could do my degree there, where my parents lived as it meant that I wouldn’t have to pay for childcare. I was trying to take as much risk out of the decision as I could - I’m very risk averse by nature.

You say you are risk averse but it was a brave step to give up the security of your job to enter full time education.

I knew I didn’t want to grow old in my job and count the years down until I retired. My rationale was if I could do something I loved until I’m 70 years old, it would be payback for the time I took off to study.

What dimension does photography add to your life?

I find photography liberating and refreshing – it’s driven from an internal force not an external one so it’s completely the opposite of work. One of my biggest regrets in my career was not having done a degree and photography gave me the opportunity to fulfill that ambition.  My BA and MA Photography degrees enabled me to develop academically whilst learning something practical.

What advice would you give someone who is in a similar situation and thinking of taking up a new interest or course?

Try to be open-minded about the opportunities available to you and avoid misconceptions. So many things are possible, it’s important to work out what it is you really want to do – that’s something a lot of people struggle with.  Talk to people, get advice and find out about flexible ways of learning.

For further information about Tracey’s photography visit or to experience her sound installation at the Barbican this August visit

If like Tracey, you too would like to gain a greater sense of fulfillment or balance in your life, contact

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