D E V I N | H O W ?
Ever since I have been taking photos professionally I am asked "How did you get into photography?" My response usually fluctuates between two or three main life events that shaped that part of me. The other option is that I say it "it just happened". The inconsistency of my answers really made me wonder when and why did I truly get started as a photographer. How did I make this a passion that I want to pursue. I decided to come up with the true and complete story of how and why I started.
In theory you could say I have always just been into photography. From a young age every family member felt like a photographer to me. My dear and sweet grandmother created a photo album for every year of my existence...and even the year before. They weren't anything fancy, they actually felt more like photojournalistic memoirs of my life, but they did spark something inside of me.
Following after my grandmother's constant photos I had a mother who was in Art College. During that time she had a lot of photography assignments (even though her medium was painting). Whenever she had a photo assignment and had me with her she would take me along for the ride, sometimes I was the child model, flaunting my bowl cut golden locks and big brown eyes (yes I used to have blond hair and be adorable...I have no clue what happened).
Skip ahead several years. I was old enough to have my own camera (using film) and was capable of understanding basic functions. My grandmother bought me film and said I could use her old camera to take pictures. The first multitude of months I would take pictures of my feet, the ground, my feet, the ground, the ground, the ground, etc. This did not make my grandmother happy, developing rolls of film full of the same pictures was expensive. At that time she said, "If you don't start taking nice pictures I am not giving you any more film". The thought of this terrified me, so I started to try. The growth was minuscule but visible. My subjects expanded to crickets, the ground, my feet, flowers (tons of flowers), and terrible portraits of my unsuspecting victims.
I took photos for a few years and then grew bored with it (as any 6 year old might) and stopped until high school.
Jump back to high school. I had been working to save money up because I was obsessed with buying technology. One thing on my list of desires was a camera, not for the photography aspect just for the fact it was technologically advanced, so I saved and saved. I started out with a Samsung NV11 (which I still have the very decrepit broken body of in a box for memories sake). It was a high end point and shoot camera with a multitude of manual features. Queue my mom back in, she had started a photography class in our home schooler's group, and what better way to show off my expensive camera and my technological prowess? (Such a jerk I know). The photography class started as a way to show off technological prowess and morphed into a re-ignition of a lost love. The first few classes she went over basics (in which I touted my already apparent understanding). Then slowly we worked into the more artistic and less technical side of things and my heart kind of changed.
The photography class started as a way to show off technological prowess and morphed into a re-ignition of a lost love (for photography).
Over the next 3 years I would focus a lot more on photography and art. I was picked on a lot in high school. My peers and teachers would discourage me from doing photography. My leaders at church or discourage me from doing photography. My friends would discourage me from doing photography. I did not give up of course, until I had to graduate. At that point bills became more real than ever. I was helping to support a lot more than myself, it proved to be a difficult time and the words of those around me cut me down enough to stop focusing on photography.
I graduated college and high school at the same time but had nothing to show for it. I attempted numerous jobs to find the right fit for myself. I even was offered a position as a graphic designer for a semi truck muffler company, but none of these tantalizing offers fed my soul or spirit. They seemed to do quite the opposite. I also thought I would work in a hotel and eventually become a manager (I did love doing that and I was good at taking care of people, it brought me energy and helped me a grow a lot) but through unexpected circumstances I was let go from the hotel and I was devastated.
It was this moment of darkness that fueled my resolve. I really prayed and sought out to find what I wanted to do. I ended up right where I started, with design and photography. I remembered what everyone told me, how I could not do this, but I didn't care. What did I have to lose? I had no job, no money, and I was living off 4 credit cards with $8,000.00 limits. I started to built a brand and do more work.
Shortly after this resolve I got a job with a local non-profit and made many close friends, including some photographers, that really helped me grow and challenge myself. I was able to borrow a professional camera and learn how to shoot in full manual mode. I was able to tag along for photoshoots and really challenge myself. My friend Shannon specifically, really cultivated me in this area (and she still takes photos for me part time and I still tag along with her).
A little over three years ago Sun Chaser Studios was born. Since then I have grow immensely and have learned so much. I have met many talented photographers who love to share their passion with me (like Evan). We have become more of a community than ever. I have learned about the beauty behind VSCO and what they are pioneering. All of these things combined have created what I am today and they continue to shape who I will be tomorrow. This is just a chunk of my story and it's only the beginning.
I am so excited to see what the future holds and where we are going. If you have any questions feel free to ask.