Photography turned out to be more than just a hobby

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, November 6, 2014

It all started when I got my first camera.

I have always been interested in photography, and loved to take pictures. But it wasn’t until almost three years ago that I bought my first serious camera.

It was going to be a hobby, something I did for fun. Little did I know, that this something fun was going to be my career.

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Once my camera arrived, I immediately decided that I would never use it on automatic. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of my camera, and how to use that little magic rectangle properly.

I researched online, I asked others for tips, and I took a lot of pictures. I taught myself a lot, but I had so much more to learn.

After graduating from Northview High School in Dothan, my plan was to go to the University of Alabama and be a pre-med student.

I have always loved athletics, and played several sports growing up. I decided in my second year that I wanted to go into sports medicine.

I worked hard that year, attended my classes and went to clinicals. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. When the time came for me to apply for the athletic training program, I didn’t give it my all, and I didn’t get in.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to fail. But for some reason, to me, it didn’t feel like I failed at all.

I knew then, that although I enjoyed being in those classes, it was not something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Photography was still a hobby and at this point had not come up in conversations about what my major was going to be. At the end of my sophomore year, I was in a position of not knowing what I was going to do next.

I decided to take advantage of what Alabama had to offer, and I took an aptitude test at the career center.  Number one on my list was photography, and number two was graphic design.

That day it clicked. I should do something that I love doing, so I did.

I changed my major to Studio Art with a focus in photography.

Walking into my first photography class, a darkroom 35mm film class, I felt at home. The environment was perfect, my classmates were great, and my professor was a wizard with a camera. I learned more from Gay Burke than I could have ever imagined.

In my short journey, I’ve met some of the best people. Photographers are awesome. They have all opened their arms to me, helping me when I obviously need it, giving me advice, and making sure I’m ok when I get run over by a 200 pound wide receiver.

The people I have met over the last two years feel like family to me. I wouldn’t trade my experience and my opportunities for anything, and I am so thankful to have met the people that I have, and work where I do.