Veteran, single mom's photography business empowers local women

MERCHANTVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Adrian Rowan is an Air Force veteran and single mom who shifted her focus to empowering other women. She converted an 1800s Victorian home to a photography studio to do just that.

"Just seeing yourself from someone else's perspective can help you change your own," she said. "I feel like there's a lot more pressure put on women to be perfect."

Rowan's style of boudoir photography gives local women the chance to see body positivity in a new light. She features women of all shapes and sizes including couples and maternity shots.

"I didn't know I could look like that," said Jessica Devito, who is a returning client of Rowan's. "I grew up struggling with self-esteem issues and this is a way for me to really display that I'm a lot stronger and very proud of who I am through artwork."

Rowan was several months into her latest venture when she was greeted with the COVID-19 pandemic and a newborn at the same time.

"I'm a single mother by choice," said Rowan. "I had a baby by myself, opened a business by myself. Don't think you can't do something on your own."

Between joining the military and moving to England to study photography, Rowan has always walked alone on the path to success. While she was in college, she decided to become a computer programmer with the United States Air Force. After four years of active duty, she became a photographer with the New Jersey Air National Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, and captured dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base.

"It was difficult, but I saw it as this is the last memory I can give the family, so it was very important for me to do it," she said.

Rowan continues to stand behind the lens at her Merchantville studio, which doubles as her home. The historic Victorian building was built in 1888 and restored during the pandemic by Rowan herself. She hopes to continue honoring the past within its walls while contributing to a future of equal opportunities for both men and women.

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