Lisa Hartley

BA FPA (Dance),  1987

The unique and wonderful performing arts degree at SFU’s Centre for the Arts (School for the Contemporary Arts) laid the foundation for an exciting and creative career path for Lisa. Lisa's professional experience since graduation, began with work as an independent dancer, producer, choreographer and dance teacher. These skills took her from Yellowknife, NWT to New York, New York. When her beloved children arrived, she returned to Vancouver and was able to transition her performing arts skills to a small business as a photographer. Once again all those hours in the studios and in the classrooms at SFU taught her to work hard and think outside the box; to use her creative skills to face a changing world.

Photography came naturally to Lisa and after her pregnancy she realized how powerful and beautiful that time of life was. She turned her lens to maternity photography 16 years ago. Since that time, this genre has exploded and it is considered a must while pregnant. Her market has evolved as her family grew, baby pictures, family photos and now, as her children leave home, she’s shooting corporate work and headshots for social media. Times have changed.

Life challenges us all; Lisa’s life has included much loss within her immediate and extended family. While moving through this grief, Lisa stumbled upon a new vocation that she is passionate about.

As a Life-cycle Celebrant, Lisa draws on her creativity, her years of connecting with people through art and community. She trained in 2013 as a Wedding and Funeral Celebrant through the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. This past year she added further training with “Ceremonies through the Life-cycle”.

In her work, Lisa listens deeply to people’s stories and brings them alive in meaningful ceremony. With loving words, and creative celebrations she guides people through the big moments of their lives. These thresholds may be weddings, a birth of a child, or the death of a loved one. They could be coming of age ceremonies, or saying good-bye to a family home. Through writing, ceremony design, and performing the ceremony she helps her clients share their stories with their friends and families.

It is her belief that as humans we crave connections with the people we love and we crave meaning. This is why we celebrate our weddings, the birth of our children, and it’s why we hold memorials and funerals.

It is in sharing our stories that we are made whole that we come to understand our lives. Throughout her life Lisa has been a storyteller, first with dance, then photography and now as a Life-cycle Celebrant.

Submitted by: Janis Horne


Business I Professional I EntrepreneurshipArts I CultureCommunity Engagement


Contemporary Arts


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