Since AER Portrait is all about documenting and telling the stories of eveyone I photograph, it’s only fitting that I tell you a bit of my story. Without fail, at some point within every session I get asked the question, “How long have you been into photography?” It's a fair question and definitely one to break the ice in the beginning of a shoot. I usually give a fairly brief summary in a sentence or two but, why not go ahead and expand and even show some pictures from the beginning?
When I was 12 or 13 years old my parents purchased the original Canon Digital Rebel with the intent on using it to take pictures of my brother and I playing baseball, soccer, and every other thing we were into at the time. Photography was not really on my mind of becoming a business or even a hobby but, the curiosity surrounding all of the things the camera could do had definitely peaked my interest.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a freshman in college, my mom upgraded her camera so I took her old one back to school with me. At that point I really started to learn about photography. I'm someone who typically feels that if you're going to do something, you might as well give it your best effort and devoted attention. I began reading anything and everything I could online about photography. I discovered CreativeLive, at the time a brand new free online photography workshop company, and would stay up into the wee hours of the morning watching some of the industry’s best and most well-known photographers teach on different photography related things. But watching and reading only get you so far; the only way to truly cemented what I was taking in was to go out and practice.
Throughout my entire college career, I was a part of a student organization called the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and each year we competed in a design series that challenged students to design and build an off road racecar. This became a major subject of my photography. Documenting all of the work that we did each year to compete provided me with the opportunity to test out the new things I was learning about photography. Additionally, my brother was also in his senior year of high school and playing baseball. I would take my camera to every game I attended. I learned a different set of skills there; capturing action in low light. Little did I know how important these lessons would be a few years down the road.
I started finding that my passion was really photographing anything with people in it and started leaning towards portraiture as I moved forward. I started doing senior and family portrait sessions and really thought that was where my photo business would end up. Then, in 2015, that changed.
A friend of mine, who is also a photographer, asked me to help him video and photograph a circus in Louisville. First thought, “There’s a circus in Louisville?” I agreed and little did I know that one decision would completely alter the direction that I envisioned for my photography.