Member Profile – My Legacy Photography

In the U.S., we have the right to vote, religious freedom and freedom of speech. Various branches of the military protect our “land of the free.”

As we come to the end of November, a month of thankfulness, it’s an honor to feature an Elko New Market business owner who has faithfully served her country and now serves her community.

From 2007 to 2011, Calinn Green, the owner of My Legacy Photography and BratTats, was in active duty for the Air Force. As a senior airman, she worked with aircrew flight equipment servicing A-10 fighter jets, C-130 carriers and medical evacuation C-130s. Her crew ensured that pilots had everything they needed in the air and when ejected. Twice, she was deployed to Afghanistan.

When in the States, Green met her husband while stationed in southern Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and photography from the Institute of Fine Arts in Minneapolis and an associate degree in business from the Minnesota School of Business. Her husband currently serves fulltime in the Air National Guard at Fort Snelling.

Here’s Calinn Green’s story.

What was it like to be deployed in Afghanistan?

We had a couple of thousand active soldiers – about 15 to 20% were female – on our base in the mountains. It was relatively safe. The plywood huts were nice; however, it was a mile walk to the bathroom. We weren’t allowed to leave the base, but sometimes the locals could come in to sell their wares.

By the way, it does get cold in the Middle East.

Was it difficult to return home after deployment?

Yes, it was hard to reintegrate back into society. Life keeps going while you’re gone; you need to adjust. I realized that living here is a privilege, and people don’t appreciate all that they have.

How do you apply your military experience to your business?

As with other business owners, there have been struggles and gains. The military teaches you to push forward and to be resilient – these principles are the same for owning a business. I network with other veteran business owners, and we all have a strong drive to succeed.

There are several resources for veterans and female veteran business owners. I took part in a six-month program through Bunker Labs, a national network of entrepreneurs, that helps veterans to start new businesses. There’s a chapter in Minneapolis.

Tell us about your business, My Legacy Photography.

I specialize in photography for women – specifically boudoir, glamour, and business headshots. My goal is for all women to feel good about themselves and sexy. I also work with photography for real estate and commercial clients.

My studios are in The Legacy Building, a creative space for small businesses. We have a group of eight photographers (there’s space for one more) and a spray tanning business. One day each month is open for hourly rental – by photographers of any skill level – to use our studio space.

And you have an online business?

Yes, BratTats specializes in easy-to-apply half- and full-sleeve temporary tattoos for kids. We have customers from all over the country. Kids and parents love them.

It’s through the proceeds from BratTats, that I’m able to donate to programs that help veterans struggling with suicidal thoughts. Suicide numbers for veterans, and for those in active service, are at alarming levels. Being in the military is traumatic and soldiers need a support system.

This is my way of giving back.

What would you tell children if they wanted to enlist in the military?

I’d make sure that their goals and plans align with military training and that the skills they learn would transfer to the civilian world. If the future included being a business owner, maybe look at active duty that has a public relations focus.

I would also tell them that nothing compares to being in the military.

Future plans for The Legacy Building include studio spaces, photography workshops, art fairs and galleries, creative spaces, and unique retail spaces. For more information about The Legacy Building or My Legacy Photography, contact Calinn Green at calinn@mylegacymn.com