My education philosophy:
Whether you're a part-timer, hobbyist, wedding photographer, veteran enthusiast, teacher or straight up pro...you have something to offer to the photography community.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY IS TO STRUGGLE WITH OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS THROUGH BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS AND MAKING PHOTOS.
I need you and other photographers to participate in education, find a community that will build you, and be honest about what you need help with.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU TO TAKE RISKS, SHARE YOUR WORK, AND TELL THE STORY BEHIND EACH PHOTO.
My Education Story
Over a decade ago I had my first teaching experience. I was serving in the Marine Corps and was a Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival. I earned the opportunity to teach around a thousand Marines how to survive and save others in combat-water-survival situations.
I realized how much relationships played a factor in my effectiveness. My stress and anxiety levels were off the charts when I first started teaching and it seemed like I didn't know what I was doing because I lacked experience, confidence, and actual connections with those I was teaching.
It goes deeper than that though...
When I was freshman in high school my younger brother Jonathan was born. He has autism.
I was so inspired to help people like my brother that I earned my B.S. in Special Education so I could make a bigger impact and learn how to teach.
That's where photography came in...
I taught students who couldn't talk or walk how to express themselves through photography. I showed them how to use a camera to communicate when they had no other way to.
This led me to one of the greatest choices of my life...
I knew that I had to teach photography so I took a huge risk and worked at earning my MFA in Educational Media Production.
Fun Fact: On the first day of my first college photography course I didn't know how to use a DSLR camera. So embarrassing...lol.
I worked my ass off to catch up to the technical skills of my peers and mentors.
I'm talking like obsession...
During my Master's I took the experiences that I had gained in the classroom and began studying "participatory photography". This is where you document your subject from your perspective while teaching the subject to document from their perspective with a camera.
My students were making incredible gains and I wanted the world to see what they were creating so I worked at advocating for my students and eventually got 3 of their photos in a local art show...
My gut told me that this is what I'd spend my life doing.
I began teaching at Appalachian State University in the College of Education while being mentored by Jeff Goodman; A Harvard graduate and award-winning educator.
Fun Fact: Jeff created a viral video and was featured on CBS's Innovation Nation.
During this time I was also teaching middle school language arts and social studies where I was heavily implementing my research on participatory photography.
After two years of being a full-time teacher and graduate student...
I moved to Durham, North Carolina to start my photography business and teach.
CHOOSE THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND LET'S BEGIN GROWING TOGETHER!