Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job at James Madison University. But I took that job in admissions having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. And yes. It was fun. I got to travel to New England during the fall. I met some amazing high schoolers with big dreams. Saw Boston. Harvard. But my heart was somewhere else. I just had to find out where.
You’re already doing it.
That was the answer to the question, “What am I going to do with my life?” Professor David Cottrell, and director of the Music Industry Program at JMU usually said things how they were. He explained, “If you think you want to be an astronomer, but you never look at the stars, you’re probably not going to be an astronomer.” But what was I doing? Well, I was booking bands. Listening to awesome music. Oh. And assisting a wedding photographer.
I declined to come aboard for a second year in Admissions at JMU, and embarked on another year of education at Boston University’s Center for the Digital Imaging Arts. For something I had become obsessed with. PHOTOGRAPHY. Nine Months. 25 classes. We studied our cameras. Workflow. Photoshop. Composition. Printing. Lighting. Studio Lighting. Still life. Illustration. Studio Portraits. Location Portraits. Architecture. And after even more classes, we arrived at weddings. Joey Pulone was our awesome teacher and encouraged us with his imagery and jovial attitude. He introduced me to Jasmine Star and Sarah Rhoads, and re-aquainted me with Casey Templeton‘s work [a local Richmond Commercial Photographer, with whom I ended up interning with...]. All of these photographers have stellar branding and I was entranced.
Before I graduated from CDIA, I knew what I was going to do. Finally. I had an answer. I am so thankful for my time at CDIA for so many reasons. CDIA taught me so much about technicals. I learned the ins and outs of big studio lighting. We had instructors who are nationally and internationally renown and freely shared their knowledge and their “how-to’s” on some of their most beautiful shots. It gave me an opportunity to be around others who shared a passion for photography. I learned from them and was encouraged by them. CDIA shattered the plateau I was at in photography; not knowing how to get better or how to take a step to do so. It allowed me to play with equipment, some of which I’ll NEVER use or be able to afford, but I know how. I met friends I still keep in touch with and love. We all have such different interests, but we share a common bond. We take pictures.
I’m writing this blog post because, perhaps above photography, I love education. Learning has been a part of my life for more years than photography, and I may be addicted to “new” information. The “how-to.” But it makes me who I am as a person, as well as a photographer. I would not be a wedding photographer had it not been for my time at CDIA. Not sure where I would be… perhaps bouncing around New England with prospective JMUers, looking at Style Me Pretty on my breaks…