After graduating from North Little Rock, I decided to take advantage of the 80% off tuition discount available to me as the daughter of a professor at the University of Central Arkansas (thanks, Mom). I began my college journey as an aspiring photographer but struggled to decide which path would allow me to live out my vision. For a brief moment, I considered video and was a digital film major but as an Arkansas girl, I was unsure of the job opportunities that would be available locally. I quickly jumped into the obvious choice and became an Art Major with an emphasis in Photography.
One of my favorite classes was film photography. I absolutely loved learning to develop film! Taking a photograph essentially completely blind… Did I have my settings right? Was it overexposed, underexposed? Was my shutter speed so low that I captured motion blur? Then the really scary moment as you are developing the film, hoping you put the film into the canister correctly and used the chemicals in the right order. After all of the anticipation, your fear and frustrations are quickly forgotten as you see the film come to life. There they are those beautiful but slightly flawed negatives. At this point you have poured your heart and soul into the process, you are destined to love the outcome no matter. I guess its kind of like having a baby! 😛
As if that wasn’t fun enough, the next phase is turning the film into a print. This portion of the process was a group event, as several other aspiring photographers were alongside me printing their own projects. It was in this very room I learned that I am not your typical photographer. My first clue was the music I heard during the many hours developing film, most of which were songs I had never heard of. When my request for something else was aired I was met with dead silence and blank stares. Country music was apparently not the genre for an artist, nor were they interested in anything that sounded remotely radio worthy.
Taste in music was not the only difference, but it did prepare me for more blank stares.
After printing our images we would put them on the wall for critic from our professor and peers. This is where I really started to stick out like a sore thumb. I was not your typical photographer.
I have always photographed with the goal in mind:
1- How do I want people to feel when they look at my images?
2- What will I do with these images?
My answer to the first question is always happy! I want my images to evoke positive emotions while also making my subject feel their best. If you have spent any time in an art department, this is an odd concept. I was told my work was too commercial, which was said to me as if it were a negative thing. I appreciated the sentiment, but also had to understand the highest grade I would get for my commercial style was a B. The answer to the second question is for my clients, I encourage them to think about where these images will end up. I want to be the photographer that captures moments they will cherish and display proudly.
After taking a few other art classes I quickly learned where the term, starving artist came from. My interpretation, they photographed what they felt and hoped others would be moved by it, and perhaps it would create a huge earth-moving statement. I understand the concept and mean no disrespect to those on that path, that’s their passion. The statement I wanted to make is about happiness and love which I can best achieve one family at a time.
With the goal of making a living doing what I love, I quickly learned switching to a degree in business would give me the tools and resources necessary to achieve my goal. I am beyond thankful for the insight God gave me at such a young age. College seems so long ago, but the decisions I made then set me on the right path towards becoming a professional photographer and a #mompreneur.