Describe what you do.

Photojournalism. Working with central organizations within my city doing work as a photojournalist and leading the “Hearts of the South” project with the top arts/culture website in Columbus.

Describe how you do it.

Working with my city, I am commissioned to photograph events, businesses and the growing vibrancy of our downtown area. As lead in the “Hearts of the South” project I connect with local venues and businesses such as the Infantry Museum, Columbus Museum and Uptown Columbus to carry out short interviews of local residents.

Describe why you do it.

Sometimes we need to not talk, but just listen. Not just run busy through life, but stop to enjoy it. The commissioned work began because I saw the vibrancy of life downtown and wanted others to feel that through photographs. The “Hearts of the South” project grew from wanting to understand people more and realizing that many times its the people who people rarely listen to that have the most to say.

What was the first step you took to become what you are now?

Steps. Its all been about taking things a step at a time and not focusing on the possibility of rejection. It began with someone suggesting I talk to the head of marketing for my city, so I did. I took the initiative and asked for a meeting. Was I nervous, yes. Even afraid, yes. But the possible reward was greater than the risk of a no. That first meeting felt rocky at first but by the end they were excitedly running through ideas and ways to use my skills…and so my working relationship with the city began. Since then I have had many meetings and led in connecting various people and venues. There’s always a possibility of a no, and I have experienced that. I’ve learned that no just means there’s another direction I need to pursue, and that’s ok. Also, as a Christian I can’t deny that I have felt the Holy Spirit’s leading in all of this. Even the “no’s” and rejection have put me in contact with people I wouldn’t have other wise.

What do you wish you had paid more attention to in school?

Personal branding. Thankfully by the time I began to pursue working with the city, I had already established my branding ( logo, website, business card). This is something that every person I’ve come in contact with so far has commented on. There are many layers when it comes to someone taking you as credible, for me this was the icing on the cake and many times made the impression that I was professional and knowledgeable in both design and photography.

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