Photography found me in early 2011, just after my 20th birthday. I was getting really into long-boarding and I wanted to make high quality skate videos for YouTube. So instead of using my Pell Grant money to buy books and food and the other essentials of life at University, I bought my first DSLR. Within weeks, I was enthralled with that camera. And while I never made many skate videos, and ended up with a diet of Top Ramen and popcorn, I did fall into a love deep enough to make me transfer to a school that offered a degree in creative photography.
A lot of crazy shit has happened in my life since the first day I held a camera, and though I'm generally not a proud person, I'm incredibly proud of the path I've taken to get my ass through life.
I suppose the spark that ignited my soul and sort of woke me up inside was a decision I made in early 2013; to leave school without a degree, merely fifteen credits short of graduation, on the notion that creative employers would be more convinced by a portfolio of impressive work than by a degree. Dropping out was a decision I questioned nearly every day for years. It kept me up at night and it led me through some dark periods full of despair and hopelessness and utter regret at what I'd done to my future.
But college had buried me in debt, and it was alarmingly difficult to imagine any real future on the trajectory I was on. When my grant money hit my checking account, like that famous superzoom in the 2000 film, Godzilla, the decision in front of me came into focus and presented itself in such a clear way. There it was - just enough cash to make something work. I didn't know what yet, but I knew that this would be the last stimulus of grant money coming my way; my last opportunity to change the trajectory.
I'd like to say it was a difficult decision to make, especially given the gravitas of it all, but it wasn't. Indeed, I had decided long before the money came that I wasn't buying books with it.
I've always been drawn to the wild places. And Oklahoma just leaves so much to the imagination in terms of wild beauty. Truth be told, I'd been itching to permanently leave that place as long as I could remember, and with every loan payment I would watch the window of opportunity close a little more. So, after a fresh rewatch of Into the Wild, I sold most of my belongings (and some plasma), quit school, quit my job, and I left.
That was eight years ago.
I'm very pleased today to say I have become a full-time photographer, as I set out to be. Though nothing in life is as precise as we aim for, and certainly not when you're aiming from the hip, I'm living a life I had once only dreamt about. What's more, life today is not so dissimilar to the life I had imagined for myself when I made the decision to leave Oklahoma. And that's really something, I think.
I've set up a beautiful little life with my soulmate just south of Seattle and I've been at work as a Studio Product Photographer in Belltown for the last five years. I've always wanted to live all the way up here, surrounded so immediately by coasts and forests and mountains and glaciers and deserts and fog and everything else somebody like me could want out of life. When I'm not in the Studio, I'm often in one of those diverse places with my partner and/or my camera, breathing the air and enjoying the dream of a life I've built - while it lasts.
I seek to personally experience the world's cherished places before they're gone, for as sure as my life is a dream that may end, so is life as we know it on Earth. All of us need to better appreciate the value in living on this rock. I don't yet know my role in the bigger picture, but I resign myself to whatever may come.
Until then, I feel contentment in my life and livelihood, and hope this space serves as an accurate glimpse at how I see the world around me. If you'd like to reach me (for literally any reason), don't be shy! Just shoot me a message, and I'll be in touch!
Thanks for being here,
LEAVING SOCIAL MEDIA
In January of 2019, I deleted my Facebook account.
I now have more time to focus on my work and think about how to best present it in my own way.
Unfortunately, I am still attached to social media through Instagram (@wanderlovemedia), but I've committed myself to consciously using it in a way that does not force me to rely on the platform's algorithms or share anything of value through it.
I've decided to try converting my social media audience over to my personal website as best I can, so they can see my work in its best light, away from the gross misconduct of platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This website will be the only place I publish future work in its full resolution or capacity.
If my work interests you and you'd like to continue following my life away from social media, the best way is to go here, give me your email address, and receive an update any time I publish new work. (It won't blow up your inbox, I promise).
If email notifications aren't your thing, you're not alone. Don't worry! I'll keep the instagram handle functional, occasionally posting reminders to come over and check out any new work.
Thanks for being here!