FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far.  

What really lit a fire underneath me was my sophomore year final review for my major studio photography class.  One of my reviewers was Nick Nixon, known for being brutally honest, as if I wasn’t nervous enough about my first ever review board.  He told me the words I had needed to hear the entire year, “You’re onto something, but you could shoot more.”  I feel like my creative vision really started to take off and flourish my junior year at Massart when I made myself step out of my comfort zone.  Shooting became an obsession, the more I shot the more I learned about myself and developed a pronounced vision and style.  What I also gained was confidence in my photography, as well as my own abilities.  For me, this was an extremely pivotal moment.  If I wasn’t crazy about my photos, why would anyone else be?  I’ve finally reached a moment in my photographic career where I now feel confident enough to expand my horizons by having my work seen by others.  As of now, I’m working hard to keep photographing and strengthening my images and ideas, as well as branching out to online publications and galleries to feature my work.  My biggest influences and motivators are the photography faculty and professors at my school.  They are all established, working artists themselves, each with dynamic background, a wealth of information and inspiration.  Their dedication to passing their wisdom down to their students is truly commendable. 

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

I think the key to an evolving, flourishing career and work ethic is to never quite be exactly where you want.  No matter where my career takes me, I will always shoot fine art photographs for myself.  Over the past two years photographing has become a subconscious habit and compulsion more than ever before.  Again, I’m working on pursuing various avenues of exhibiting my work; getting it seen.  One step at a time.  Ideally I would love to broaden my professional horizons by working for a magazine or be a studio assistant to a photographer.  I think that would be the best way for me to learn the tools of the trade and become well rounded in my field. 

What are your goals for 2016?

I’m a candidate for a Bachelors of Fine Art in Photography in May, and I’m hoping for a strong end to my career at Massart.  I’m taking my major studio photography class as well as a bookmaking class, where I’ll be hand-making my own photobook, which is pretty exciting.  I’m in the process of interviewing for a few internships; real work experience, where I can build my professional skills and relationships is what I’m hoping for the most in 2016.  Another future prospect of mine is to take a cross-country trip with no one other than my camera.  My passion for shooting really developed when I re-visited my home as a possibility for making work.  Home has been the place I have investigated the past two years.  Now that I’ve developed vision and ideals in my practice, I’d love to take this passion elsewhere.