A Personal Post: A Photography Students Journey

Growing up I was always in front of the camera. My Mum wanted to capture as much of my childhood as she could and she definitely did. I was always used to smiling, doing a wee pose or just being silly in front of the camera. I never thought that I would end up behind the camera.

I never knew much about photography. I knew what a camera was but never knew how much thought-process went into being a photographer. In Grade 10 of High School we needed to choose two options for credits. As I looked at the list I knew I didn't want Art because I cannot draw to save my life, I didn't want Math because well its Math, and I was already taking a computer course. I remember seeing Photography and thinking this will be so easy, well it wasn't. It was hard. But somewhere along the line I fell in love with photography and watching a creative idea come to life was so thrilling.

After I finished my Beginners course I wanted to continue, so my teacher allowed a few of us to do Intermediate after school the following semester. I remember being so excited trying new things, having fun with props in the prop room and starting to "attempt" portraits. In Grade 11 I knew my option would be Photography so I took the Advanced course. This was where I learned more about Photoshop and tried, and I mean TRIED, to be unique with editing. Looking back I cringe and laugh but when I was doing it I was so proud of myself.

My parents could tell I was really considering Photography as a career. For Christmas that year I was surprised and amazed to find a Canon 40D under the tree. I was happy, I could take photos at home, on vacation etc. I had so much fun snapping away at everything I could, I wanted to improve and was determined to learn more. 

Since I finished Advanced in Grade 11 there really wasn't another course in Photography for me to take. I spoke to the teacher, who knew I was hooked on Photography, and she said I could take Advanced again even though I passed with flying colours, and we would call it Advanced +1. I did mostly similar stuff to the Advanced class but had my own projects. I really started to experiment with portraits and what I called 'fashion' back then. I did some head-shots for the school play and dance shots for a teacher's daughter. 

I took a year off after graduation and worked full time. I wanted to pay for University by myself even though my parents offered. I applied at Grant MacEwan University for their Design and Photography program and NAIT for their Photographic Technology program. In the end, Grant MacEwan won. 

These past 3 years are a blur now, even though when I was living them it seemed like it would never end. I learned so much from Grant MacEwan and it helped me grow as a person and a photographer. There were a lot of tears shed, a lot of sleepless nights and times I didn't eat all day. But I made it through and can't believe how amazing the journey was.

The teachers were incredible and they didn't hold back. One teacher told me 'People aren't your thing', and at the time I agreed with him but it hurt nonetheless. I wanted to prove him wrong, and in a way I think he knew my personality well enough that that's why he said it. He knew I would try and prove him wrong. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be where I am now, having the opportunity to work with all these beautiful models and amazing make-up artists. 

One thing I remember from day one of University, I am not a designer I am a photographer. I tried my best in school and there were some amazing designers there and it was great seeing them grow and improve but it wasn't what I wanted. I've loved Photography since I was 15 and its all I've ever wanted to do. 

I know I sound like a broken record but I am so excited to see where this new chapter takes me and I cannot wait for the journey.  I am so thankful for the people I've met along the way and the new people I can't wait to meet. You really helped shape who I am today and I am forever grateful. 

Until next time!

Lisa-Marie xo