For the past 3 years I have been working my tail off. I went BACK to college, this time to pursue an Art Degree that I originally wanted, and was talked out of by my family, “Art degrees are not practical, they wont earn you a suitable living or proper husband. You need to get a science based degree, one that will gt you a blue collar job, to make a substantive living for yourself.” This echos in my ears long after it was said to me by my family member. Believing that they knew better and what they were talking about, I gave up my pursue of an Art degree, and went the “practical” route and got a criminology degree. That was a big ole’ flop, and a waste of time, money, and energy. I got that degree the year the economy tanked. My job I had lined up, suddenly disappeared right out from beneath my feet.
So after my mother’s persistent insisting, and encouragement from my husband and his parents, I went back to school for my art degree! =) I just graduated this December with my AAS in Photography from Phoenix College, and I’m now full time, instead of part time, at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. YAY! What an unbelievable journey it has been! It honestly took me until the end of last Spring to realize I love photojournalism and I’m actually quite good at it!
My dreams are coming true! I’m stepping into the ultra professional realm now! I have my very first HUGE traveling exhibition show starting in the Bokeh Solo Gallery at MonOrchid Gallery, January 3rd 2014 here in Downtown Phoenix. This is a HUGE step for me, and my career as an artist, photographer and photojournalist; it’s my Yarnell images. There’s going to be media coverage, and a large opening night! Wow! Who would have thought, that despite all of the nay sayers, I’m making it! Well, starting to at least! I’ve worked my toochy off for this! My dreams are coming true! I hope that ONE day to be as great as Steve McCurry.
I keep pinching myself, sometimes I wonder if I’m living in my head, or if this is really for real! Signing contracts for shows, interviews, etc, you’d think I’d get that it is for real. This is a life time of hard work coming true for me! I’m overwhelmed with the amazing accomplishments, and yet, humbled because it touches the hearts of people. Steve McCurry said one thing in an interview of his that I watched that just stuck with, that he waits for these moments to manifest themselves, that he doesn’t force them to come. These moments are magical, they speak volumes, and they take people to unimaginable places. I took that to heart. I WAIT ever so patiently for these small moments in time, when no one is looking, paying attention, or seeing, and get them. That’s the TRUE art of photojournalism, and Steve is right, there is a fine line between moral photojournalism and paparazzi, and I’d rather not be another idiot chasing the story; instead I’d rather be the fly on the wall, waiting and watching it unfold naturally. Some of the media ticked me off, they missed a HUGE part of the Yarnell story, the story of community, of love, support, small town love. They were so enamored by the big story of the fire, the damage, the tragic loss of lives, that they missed what this small community had to give to the world. You can read my story here: Yarnell Rebuilds: A Story of Hope .
Dreams do come true, if you stay true to yourself, and work hard in a humbled and moral fashion, don’t be a shark, be a fly.
Thank you to all of the countless people who have helped me. I could not have gotten this far without you. Especially to my Mother Dale, (RIP), my magnificent Husband Scott, and my family who had faith and belief in me, including my awesome in-laws Kathy and Chris. Thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and still will do.